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Kindergarten Farm

Babydoll Southdown Sheep and Miniature Horses

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Shear Numbers

20190620_133339Babydoll fleece is considered short-stapled. At shearing this year (back in March) I measured the wool of each sheep just before it came off. Each fleece had a range of lengths, and I recorded the longer parts, usually the side of the neck/shoulder area. My numbers ranged from 1 3/8 in. to 4 in, with an average of 2.4 in. The yearlings averaged 2.5 in. Brutus’ fleece was the largest, and weighed 6 lb, 3 oz.

I did the shearing myself – a first, beyond dabbling with hand shears here and there. I found the electric clippers to be less intimidating than I expected, though most of the sheep suffered a nick or two. My amateur back muscles protested for the first few days, (ok, I was REALLY sore) but I didn’t do more than 5 sheep per day, and overall I enjoyed the process. I didn’t use the same positions or stroke patterns as the professionals, but found methods which worked for me. For more pictures, see the “Photos” page. 20190620_131947

Cattywampus

Cattywampus was on hand when Jasmine was started under saddle yesterday, and he decided her first rider ought to be feline. We were pleased that she was just as calm for the cowgirl as she had been for the cat.20190610_095546

May Day colt

 

Born this morning – Samson! Sired by Karat, out of Princess. We are thrilled to have a baby to enjoy and halter break this summer.

Update – Samson at 12 days:

 

6 weeks:20190610_132125

Lambs on the Ground

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The pasture is swarming with spunky lambs. Our first babies were born on April 7, and lambing may be complete; two of our “old ladies” have not bagged up yet and are keeping us guessing as to whether they will lamb late or not at all. All lambs were born live and are thriving, which is a lot to be thankful for. Some will be available – partial list and some pictures have been added to the Sheep for Sale page.

Happy New Year!

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Iris is smiling on my kitchen wall now that I’ve put up NABSSAR’s 2019 calendar, featuring Kindergarten Farm’s photo on the January page. I took that picture about a year ago, and it’s just as snowy today. The sheep are already eating through their second round bale of the winter. Hard to believe we’ll be watching for spring lambs in just over 3 months! If you’re looking for quality Babydoll Southdowns, let me know.  We still have plenty of room on our waiting list, but it tends to fill up fast over the winter.

Summer is fleeting…

…my calendar tells me there’s only two days left of it. This has me reflecting on the happy times and the work, the collective effort that went into training horses, raising another crop of lambs, and getting the abundant hay crop in place for winter.  And sympathizing with all those raising livestock in drought-stricken regions whose hay crops are not so abundant this year.

While flipping through summer photos (which are few because it seems the doing is usually more important than the recording), I came across a few I want to share.

Grandmother and granddaughter take a 12-mile trail ride with Caramel and Dolly.

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July lamb born – first ever for us. We’d given up on lambs from one of older ewes – figured she was done lambing or taking a year off, and then she surprised us with this little one. She is growing up, and is available. See “Sheep for Sale” for details.

Brutus’ lambs

The speed at which these lambs are growing is incredible. All the ewes have lambed, except one old girl who is probably done or taking a year off. (Update – she eventually did have a little ewe!) Every lamb was born live – a cause for celebration, as there’s usually a stillbirth or two – a second born twin or a large single for a first time mom. We’re seeing a lot of nice dark legs and very sweet faces on solid bodies that are muscling up nicely. All the ewe lambs are spoken for. We still have a couple of available ram lambs who will be wethered soon if no one requests them as breeding stock.  Brutus sired our entire 2018 lamb crop.Brutus resized

Jobs at Grandma’s

There’s always lots of work to do on the farm, but nice weather means it’s time for a lot of fun jobs. Grandma Janette has ponies picketed out to graze in the yard every day this time of year. The grandchildren help with this when they visit, as well as with gentling the younger horses, saddle training, and practicing loading on and off the trailer. There’s a nest of kittens to check on in the barn and donkeys who are always hoping someone will bring them a slice of bread. Poncho the donkey helped with some landscaping work last week, or at least got harnessed up and looked useful for a change!Resized952018051095151028

Lambing Time, Blizzard Time

 

 

 

Newborn lambs and high winds/drifting snow are a bad combination. Over the weekend we were so thankful to be able to bring the sheep inside. After a midwinter predator attack, we repurposed one end of a building, built a temporary pen, and have brought the sheep in every night since.  Some years our 3-sided sheds are adequate even through lambing, but this year late episodes of winter weather have made better shelter essential. We’re still feeding some hay, which is unusual for us in April.

Brutus’ lambs are looking great, and so far we have 6 ewe and 3 ram lambs. Pictured above: Left – Anna and Elsa, 8 hours old. First time mom Iris is doing a great job with them. Middle – our daughter with one of Millie’s triplets. They’re getting a few supplemental bottles, and she calls them “the sniffy babies” because they are quite friendly and come up to nuzzle people. Right – ewes and lambs waiting for the storm to end so they can be outside.

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