Thursday, 25 April 2013

Animal Babies

I drove to Mr. Baker's farm and collected our ram this week. We have him on loan, the same ram we had last year.


I was pleased with him. He got on with the job, shortening our lambing time considerably from the previous year. The quality of his progeny seems pretty good too, though one sheep judging seminar doesn't make me an expert on lambs. There are no obvious weaknesses or defects, and they're, you know, lambs. So that's good.

Did I mention that I can borrow the ram for a tenner? Like a good farmer, I'm cheap considering the input costs to overall profit.

I dropped the back of the trailer, so he could see the ewes. He casually walked out and sauntered over to them -


The ewes seem pleased with my choice -


After going to the trouble of wrestling the raddle harness on him, I forgot to change the crayon. No problem. The first cycle will be no colour butts, and I'll put a new crayon in for the second cycle, so late lambing ewes will have coloured butts. In this case my un-preparedness saved me the cost of a crayon. Well, heck, I'm just racking up the savings! 

While Ram was getting down to business in the field, our partridge eggs were delivered - 10,000 of them from France. I gave Mike a hand to inspect and tray each egg. It's a pleasant task, stood in the incubator house with all the machines humming around you. It can be done one-handed while you drink a cup of tea. Jobs which you can do concurrent with drinking tea are usually the best jobs.

Because they come from abroad, each egg is stamped and when the stamps smudge, they look like smiley faces.


That makes me cheery.

Only a scant number of those eggs is for us. We custom hatch for other clients so the bumblebee-sized chicks will hatch and be put into special boxes and sent away again to other counties. These birds are well travelled even before they can fly.

Our first pheasant hatch is Tuesday, only a couple of thousand eggs, also sold to a client. At home, I'm still waiting on Grumpy and L845 to lamb. It should be any time now. I check them at night when I get up to check on Podge and the pups.

Oh, the pups. Or tiny timewasters, as they should be called. Mum and litter are doing fine. After making a batch of scones, I had the kitchen scales out, so I figured why not check and make sure that the puppies are putting on weight-



So far so good. And a silicon loaf liner makes a perfect non-slip puppy holder.

12 comments:

Katie said...

These posts are making me want a pup in the worst way. And I have no time for puppy training right now. Aaaahhhhgghh!

Sara Rall said...

oh my goodness, a loaf of puppy and smiling eggs! you cheered my afternoon right up.

Seester said...

Could you please explain the difference between a ewe with "no colour butt" and an un-mounted ewe? Don't they have uncoloured butts normally?

I am so jealous that you have a bunch of tiny puppies in your house! I love that they aren't even as big as a loaf of bread!

janice bendixen said...

Now all your pheasants can say "We're from France!" Hopefully, they won't have too obvious coneheads. Let's all cheer Mr. Ram for his hard duty. The things one must due to earn feed... Keep us posted on the pups' progress and keep those photos coming, Jen

Pam said...

I have been a "lurker" on your blog for awhile, but the puppy in a loaf pan spurred me to words. I mean, come on. We are transitioning from farm life to town life, and your blog helps in my moments of sheep and dog withdrawal. We had a Brittany who could be Dulcie's clone. I love your posts of farm life the way it really is-not always easy or pretty, but pretty amazing.

Jennifer Montero said...

Pam - We love our lurkers! I hope your transition to town life hasn't been too difficult, aside from the moments of withdrawl.

If you write a blog about town life, with its access to good restaurants, homes with central heat/air, and your ability to wear sandals without getting poop and mud between your toes, I will read it and be envious.

Jennifer Montero said...

The ewes cycle every 17ish days, so any that are receptive will be covered by the ram. Any that cycled before the ram when in, he will have missed. If I put a crayon on him for the 2nd cycle (days 18-34) he'll cover those he missed and leave a green mark.

I can assume (unless when I scan them they're empty) that anything without a mark on her butt was covered first cycle, therefore will be due in the first group. Does that makes sense?

Jennifer Montero said...

Janice - I forgot about the coneheads! That reference made me smile, like the French eggs. And they do have a pointy end...

Jocelyn said...

I'm a lurker too! Love your blog. And I just had to say that the non-slip puppy pan sounds like #1 New Product of 2013. I'd buy one, just to have an excuse to get a puppy.

Jennifer Montero said...

Jocelyn - Here at M&T, every non-slip puppy pan comes *with* puppy included. Supplies are limited of course.

Pam said...

Okay, this is starting to sound a little Cruella de Ville. If you're too young to know who she is, you can Google her. :-)

Jennifer Montero said...

Pam- We only have one spotty puppy so all I can muster is a single fingerless glove!