Posts Tagged ‘Katahdin Sheep’

Here are a few random snaps from last week, in no particular order.  For some reason I didn’t grab any pics of the rabbits or dogs.  Oh well, maybe next time.


B and Romeo


Hay Time


Buff Orpingtons


Bonding Time


Dixie Rainbows


Sun Bathing

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It seems like only yesterday that we drove 4 hours through the oppressive Georgia spring heat(in a truck with no air conditioning) to collect our freshly weaned dairy sheep, then turn around an drive 4 hours back.  By the time we got home we  were sweaty, tired and filled with wonder at our new additions.  We named them, Howard and Vestal, after the old Southern Gospel Singers, better known as the Happy Goodmans.

Howard and Vestal were our first farm animals.  They were so small and so sweet.  Over the last year we’ve been through a lot together and they have taught us so much.  The two of them have been pure joy to have around.

Today they went to their new home near Macon.  I took a longer than normal lunch break and drove out to the farm in time to help get them loaded up and say goodbye.  Apart from both of them needing a little assistance in getting up into the trailer, the loading went without incident.  I told them goodbye and headed back to work.

About 4 miles down the road, it hit me, Howard and Vestal were gone.  I must confess, I cried.  I talk big about not getting attached to any of our animals, but the fact is, I’m attached to all of them.  Yes, even the ones we eat.  It’s the attachment that requires me to process them myself, whenever I can.  I want to make sure they are treated with dignity even in death.

I decided to call Brittan to see how she was doing.  Yep, you guessed it, she was crying, too.  We will miss those sheep.  But we are comforted in knowing they have a good home where they will provide milk and wool and baby lambs to a family who will enjoy them as much as we have.

Some days farming is very enjoyable. Today was not one of those days.  Today was a day we made a right decision rather than an easy one.  I will console myself by getting a good nights sleep.  Tomorrow I may just have to buy a goat.  That will make me feel better.  I’m sure of it!

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All the books say that hardly anything ever goes wrong with lambing, especially if you are raising Katahdin or East Friesian sheep.  The book are full of hooey!  “Hooey”, that’s a technical term.

I was busy at the office, getting ready for a meeting, when my phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID and saw it was Brittan.  I looked at the clock, saw the time and knew exactly what it was about.  I answered, expecting to hear her say, “We have a lamb”.  Instead, she gasped, “Gabby is giving birth and something is wrong.  I think the lamb is dead.  It doesn’t appear to be breathing, it’s tongue is hanging out and Gabby is in great stress.  It’s been a long time and I think Gabby isn’t going to make it, either.  Bring the gun. How do I pull the lamb?”  I gave her a crash course on where to grab and pull, hung up and reached for my jacket and car keys.

I informed a few people at the office of the reason for my sudden departure and bolted up the road.  It is, of course, a 4o minute drive at the best of times.  This morning was not the best of times.  It seems that drivers across North GA chose this morning to keep the police, ambulance drivers and their insurance adjusters busy.  Murphy strikes again.


I called Brittan frequently for updates.  One ended abruptly with, “Oh my gosh, I’ve gotta go.”  When I finally got her to answer the phone, she screamed, “I did it!  I pulled the lamb. I pulled the lamb.  They are both laying on the ground and can’t get up.  It’s a girl. Where are you?”

By the time I reached the farm with some towels and blankets, Gabby was drinking water and eating hay, while Brittan was wiping down the lamb with her sweatshirt.

I dragged Gabby down the hill towards the lamb, while B moved the lamb towards Gabby.  This was a totally disinterested mother.  By now, the birth was past by nearly an hour and still the lamb had not been fed.  I said, “We’ve got to put them both in a stall to force Gabby to let her nurse.”  Then it hit me.  I was going to have to carry Gabs up the hill to the barn.  She weighs between 125 and 150 lbs.  I picked her up ok, but moving my legs up the incline with that load was not as easy as it sounds.  Slowly, and with much grunting from both Gabby and me, we reached the barn and got the mother and daughter safely inside.

Over the next couple hours, Brittan and I each managed to hold Gabby still so the little one could get some dinner.  By three thirty, the lamb had eaten three times and the last one was a good feed.  We will go back out one more time tonight.  We have some bottles and supplement just in case, but it appears that Gabby may finally be starting to bond.  We certainly hope so.

Anyway, we have a lovely little ewe lamb.  Her name is Tikka. We hope you like her.

My Hero

I leave this little update with a photo of the hero of the hour.

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He’s here!  Amram the hair sheep.  And we are terribly pleased with him.  He is gorgeous.

We found him by accident back in November when we went to the auction to buy some rabbits.  Those who read this space regularly will remember that Brittan struck a deal for him with his owner without ever laying eyes on the ram.  We saw him once right around Thanksgiving, but waited until today to allow him to be weaned.

Amram has the classic Katahdin look, except he has some horns.  All the Katahdin’s I’ve seen were naturally polled, so it came as a surprise.  It also leads me to believe there is some Dall sheep in his lineage.  Dall are also hair sheep, but have magnificent curled horns.  I don’t believe Amram’s set will be that grand, but it will be fun to see how they turn out.

He has the same kind of raspy  baa that Gabby has.  It is totally different that the dairy sheep.

Right now we have the little guy in a stall in the barn.  We’ll keep him there for a couple days to get used to us.  He is a bit on the wild side.  I think it will take a while for him to settle down and be sociable.  Our East Friesians were easy to handle right from the start.  Gabby was afraid of us for weeks.  The thing that won the day was the fact that her flocking instinct was stronger than her fear of us and since the other sheep were friendly with us she had to tolerate us in order to be near them.  Perhaps it will be the same with Amram.  As with so many things, time will tell.


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In the wake of losing our first kindle of baby bunnies and the discovery that our goats are NOT pregnant, we made some decisions that will altar the livestock mix around here.  Next spring we will add another Dexter calf so that Butter can have a companion.  We also plan to breed her mid summer.  Also in the Spring we will add some Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red chickens as well as Bourbon Red and Narragansett turkeys.  We will keep you updated on those arrivals later.

January will see three new arrivals and we are totally excited.

First up is “Karma”, the Smooth Collie.  We are so grateful to Glendale Farm Collies for making her available to us.  There has been an empty space since Dream passed away last summer and it was time to get another collie.  Karma will be trained as a stock dog as we have realized how badly we already need one.  That training will take quite a while, but the cost of a fully trained dog was way out of our reach.

The day after we get Karma, we will take a little jog up the road to Adairsville, GA and get “Amram”, a Katahdin male lamb.  We went to see him a couple weeks back, but he won’t be weaned until right after Christmas.  We’ll pick him up in early January.

Last, but not least, please welcome, “Meshak”.  Meshak is a tri color Nigerian Dwarf buck goat.  We reserved him over the weekend from Sandra Miller at 4 Boot Farm where we got our other goats and our donkeys.  Is he cute as a button or what?

By April, we expect to have ALL our foundation animals (with the exception of fish) on the farm.  Our plan is to begin breeding all our own livestock, with the exception of broiler chickens.  It will take a couple years to get our momentum and we’ll have to buy a few feeder animals along the way, but our direction is set.

BTW, I am so lucky to be married to a woman who is as excited about livestock as I am.  Actually, she might be even MORE excited than I am.


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