Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Separating the Men from the Girls

The last lamb was born on Sunday, a single ewe lamb to Ewe 00025, with no intervention, just more dancing from the shepherdess. That's the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it.

We had a good lambing season overall. 29 surviving lambs in total, 16 ram lambs and 16 ewe lambs. 19 ewes were scanned pregnant; Ugly Sheep died giving birth (rest her woolly soul) and I finally culled Ewe 0005 who mis-mothered her only lamb in four attempts to conceive and give birth. Plus my two horned ewes had another 3 ram lambs between them in January. Even Ugly Sheep's son Buddy (23, with a dot to remind me he's adopted) is doing great -


(P)rick, our new ram, produced a strong crop of lambs overall, healthy and growing well. I will keep the best ewe lambs to replace my oldest and culled sheep.

Ewes and lambs on the spring grass

I've had worse seasons.

Lambing seem to get easier, possibly due to a combination of luck and more experience on my part. Unfortunately, like so many things, I learn most from my mistakes. I often play those mistakes over and over in my head, and they are hard to forget. And now I have goat kids to begin a whole new crop of mistakes.

Goat Kid Mistake # 1: Remember my last post, I thought both kids were does? The brown one is a buck. The white one is a doe.

How on earth could I not notice that?! Well, you're talking to the person who didn't realise her goat was even pregnant, so let's assume my powers of observation are questionable, especially after a month of lambing sleep-deprivation.

In my defence, the vet who came and disbudded the kids didn't notice either.

The kids are anaesthetised with Propofol - we call it getting "Michael Jacksoned"

A heated tool is used to cut away the growing point of the horns

I'm used to looking at lambs' testicles (who isn't, right?) and if you have never seen a lamb's scrotum..well, they are big and obvious. Heck, the purse I carry is smaller than a lamb's scrotum.  A cursory glance when I'm putting iodine on the lambs' navels is enough to tell the hims from the hers.

Not so much goats.

Goats testicles are discreet. I only noticed he was a boy when I caught him having a wee. It was not the girl "squat and wee behind" but the boy "stand and wee from the middle". I picked him up, and had to turn him over and search to find the testicles.

So now I know.

I spend time in the goat pen every day, letting the kids climb on me and get used to being handled. They are curious and far more personable than lambs. At least I know now to get the buck separated earlier, before he gets too "personable" with his mother. I may put him to the other unrelated nanny to keep her in milk. However, the end of the road for him is the freezer, and beaters' lunches this winter.

Our very basic goat milking station: a rope, a bucket of food, a jug & and milk churn

Lastly, the winner of the hot water bottle cover is Laura Orabone. Underkeeper Ian picked her name out of a pheasant feed bag this morning. Laura, please email me your mailing address, and whether you need the hot water bottle to come with it, and I will put it in the post for you. I hope you enjoy it!


Paula said...

Hi Jen- don't forget the Henry milker, which keeps things nice and clean- no kicking over the bucket, no stepping a foot in the bucket. The new milker handles both teats at the same time, and they have milk stand plans for five bucks. Not sure how it all works out in British pounds, but I think this device is pretty darn clever. If I had goats, I'd have a Henry milker.

Jennifer Montero said...

Paula - With extra goats to milk, I think it's time to consider the Henry Milker (the video is really sweet too). I'm planning to build a stand, and have plans. May rope family into helping when they visit! Thanks for the link and the reminder.

The Morrissey said...

I've giggled at both goat stories. Maybe I'm just punchy lately but they've made me smile. And want a goat more than I did before. I need to move somewhere with more land. . . or not because who knows what'll happen if I'm turned loose with 5 acres. Maybe that's why dh is resisting.