Pumpkin . . . Fall 2011

Pumpkin . . . Fall 2011

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Update

The last post was way back last June so now I need to do an update . . . Tomorrow we will be separating our breeding groups.  We have three fine rams this year . . . Lennie, Woden and the "Golden Boy".  I had to cull Hun this year.  Nearly all of his ewes experienced difficulty in birthing this past spring because of his huge head and shoulders.  Officially, he was off the charts in those measurements and I paid the price.  So many want that big shoulder but you really want just the opposite . . . a long bodied ram with a nice rump!  And that is the body frame that I am looking for in a ram. 

The Golden Boy has "IT" and he grew very fast last summer.  I am taking reservations right now for ewes and 5 of our best ram lambs.  Please contact me via phone 207-726-4765.  I am keeping a ewe out of Pumpkin but every other ewe will be for sale.  Elena gave me two beautiful ewe lambs (finally after 5 years of giving me rams) last year . . . but her ewes will be for sale this year.  This is a very meaty and fleecy line.

Mark is currently running for RNC Chair this week . . . will let you all know how this plays out.  If he gets the requisite numbers of nominators . . . he will be the very first RNC Chair candidate to have been both a shepherd and sheep shearer:)  I just love this because we need someone at that level that understands not only the "Grassroots" but those that understand our rural heritage and our constitutional rights. . .  along with his impressive resume, education and current job in the IT field.  Happy New Year to everyone!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Farm Update

Lambs are growing . . . we had a 90% rate of ram lamb births this spring . . .So I don't have any breeding stock for sale . . . we had two rams reserved from last year and those are sold . . . our meat market is greater than what we have which is good . . . I am keeping most of my ewes from this crop because they are so outstanding.

Unfortunately, Hun will be going to the butcher this summer.  His lambs are HUGE . . . but they killed one of our ewes this spring . . . Icelandics do not normally produce 13 lb lambs and this caused birthing problems with a few of his ewes . . . I won't go into it but his huge shoulders and head are a big problem.  Sorry Hun . . . you are just too big.

Mark and I have been involved with the Ron Paul Campaign over the past several months . . . . we are both delegates to the Convention in Tampa . . . I am an alternate . . . Mark was elected as Maine RNC Committeeman Elect . . . and will be seated in Tampa after the Convention . . . he is probably one of the first National RNC Committeman who is a farmer and shears his own sheep in a very, very long time.

More updates soon . . . . promise . . . first tomatoes from the greenhouse, basil now  . . . two weeks we should have cukes and peppers . . . eggplants soon to follow.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pepper's Lambs 4/4/12

Pepper did what she always does well . . . gives birth at the same time of day (always mid-day), unassisted, and predicably gives me rams. . . . yesterday at around noon I heard her calling in the barn.  I knew she was in labor.   

Already one lamb was out and being cleaned off by Pepper and I could tell another was on its way.  Sure enough when I came back to check on her the other lamb was out, cleaned off and nursing.  Two nice sized ram lambs . . the black spotted mouflon ram weighed 7.5 pounds and the badgerface weighed in at 6.5 pounds.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Manon ~ 4/3/12

Went out to the barn this morning and Manon was in the corner of my big stall . . . I said to her softly . . . "well looks like it is your time".  She then turned around and I saw that her water bag was out and dragging on the floor.  She had been in labor for quite some time and I got somewhat concerned.  When I saw meconium, I knew that the lamb or lambs were in trouble and I immediately ran to the house to get my Son. 

Declan held Manon while I felt for a lamb in the birth canal . . . nothing . . . so I went in further and I found two feet which I gently pulled forward.  They were locked up against the cervical opening.  Then I felt for either a head or rump.  Manon breeched a huge lamb last year so when I felt those big legs and what I thought was the rump I began to pull downward slightly . . . nothing came forward.  I eased my hand in again and tugged some more.  Something came through and I saw it was a huge head . . . at this point the lamb should come out so I waited for another contraction and pulled . . . still nothing!  I was becoming confused and at this point thought that I had the rear legs of a twin and the head of another so I pushed the head back and started to feel around again . . . I felt one big body but could not tell if there was another.  Manon and I were beginning to panic at this point.  I sent Declan in to call the Vet.  Manon then laid down next to me and rested her head in my lap.  I felt helpless but then something told me to try again . . . just once more.  With tears streaming down my face, I reached in again and pulled the legs and head forward one last time.  The shoulders were so wide that there was very little space to work the body through the pelvis of Manon.  I got the shoulders unstuck finally by slow steady pressure and muscles that I did not know I had.  The lamb finally emerged  . . . it was HUGE!!!!!  11.5 pounds with a very wide chest and the thickest legs I have ever seen on a lamb born on this farm.  It coughed and began moving . . . Manon started licking it and talking to it while I wiped off his nose and face.  I hugged Manon while she was talking and licking her lamb (I think she was also talking to me in a different voice from her lamb trying to calm me down as well:) 

Manon and her gigantic ram lamb are doing fine now.  This lamb is so big he needs to practically lay down to nurse.  Whew . . . the fear and joy of lambing season . . . and the big sigh of relief when everything turns out okay in the end.  This beautiful ram lamb is available and is out of Hun.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

First Lambs of 2012

Declan did an early morning barn check and came back with the news that Pumpkin had two lambs at her side.  She is usually the first to lamb.  What beauties these are.  Woden is the father as I wanted to bring out the fine fleeced moorit pattern in this breeding.  The ewe lamb has sugar lips so she will be moorit grey and the ram lamb is solid moorit.  The ram is available for sale and I may be keeping the ewe . . . just depends on if Elena finally gives me a ewe this year.  The ram lamb weighed 6 pounds and the ewe about 5 1/2 lbs. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Breeding Group Listing for Lamb Reservation

At long last I am finally catching up here with my blog. The girls are starting to have that "pregnant" look about them and the boys have finally settled down after some pretty impressive head butt contests in the paddock. We already have 5 lambs reserved (I am waiting for deposits on four of them right now).
We will only be selling the 10 best lambs this year for breeding stock - due to the high demand for our meat. Our farm has some incredible ewes and I will not be adding to our ewe line-up this year (that is . . . unless Elena finally gives birth ot a ewe lamb:)

Lambs are due starting in mid-late March. Pumpkin was the first to go last year and I think she may be the first again this year. I will be listing the Ewes bred to each Ram following the photo. I have written about many of my ewes over the last few years . . but please contact me if you would like more information about each. Lamb reservations are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. A non-refundable deposit is required to hold one of our lambs. Ewe lambs are $650.00 registered and $500.00 non registered. Ram Lambs are $500.00 registered and $350.00 non-registered.

We breed for temperament, fine fleece, good health and conformation. Please phone me at 207-726-4765 if you would like to reserve a lamb. I request an initial phone call as it is much easier to get a read on exactly what you are looking for. Thanks so much for all of your support last year . . . we sold our of our quality Icelandic breeding stock and our meat! This year we are excited to offer cuts of lamb from our Farm Store . . . look for cuts to be available beginning in late August. Buy Local . . . . Eat Well . . . .

Lennie: Pip, Bee-Bee, Saltie, Saltina, Hunnie, Daisy, Panda, Liz, Co-Co
Hun: Spike, Tolkie, Manon, Snugs, Sammie, Helen, Pepper, Penny, Ayn
Woden: Pumpkin, Elena, Sugar, Fang, Lil' Snugs

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Icelandic Shepherd Group in the US

I am thinking about forming a new Icelandic Shepherd group based in the US with breeders that are comitted to marketing our breed to Chef's, meat to consumers, Fiber Artisans and potential new breeders who are dedicated to furthering the genetics and marketing of our sheep breed. . . .I am sorry, but this group will not be open to hobbyists or homesteaders . . .you must have recently registered and sold sheep either as meat or breeding stock to join.

keep a look out for your Yahoo group invites . . . this will only be on an invitation only basis . . . Please E-mail me privately at violetjwillis@yahoo.com if your are interested in joining. . .

Buy local . . . eat well . . . .