Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taffy's Lamb

Well, we didn't have to wait too long until the arrival of the next lamb!

SSR Taffy delivered a gorgeous Moorit ewe lamb on April 2nd. She is a really good mom and the wee one is doing quite well, up and standing 5 minutes after birth! The sire again is Cedar Haven Max.

She is such a dark brown you think she’s black, and then you see her next to Lassy’s black ram lamb. Plus she has the lighter brown around the eyes and muzzle. Her coloring will probably be very much like her mothers. 

I promise a decent picture will be coming soon, but has to wait for a sunny day. The spring rains have come in force.

Lassy's Twins

On March 30th SSR Lassy delivered two beautiful, healthy lambs – a black/white ewe and a black ram! These lambs are a first for us but not Lassy. She is a wonderfully attentive and protective mother. Their sire is Cedar Haven Max.

We understand their color can change dramatically in the first two months of life so we’ll wait and see for certain, but the little ewe looks like she’ll be a grey like her Agouti mommy, and the ram is very black. 

We did our best to identify the ewe's markings as krunet since she looks like she’s wearing a hood, plus she has spots too. Let us know if you think this is not correct since we are new to learning the many and varied Shetland patterns! 

How utterly entertaining to watch them spring and bound around! We look forward to the other lambs due to arrive anytime and watching the whole group romp together!

Roosters at the Ranch


When we first got our Sussex chicks last spring we had roosters. To make a long story short, in one way or other the roosters “left”. Although the girls didn’t seem to miss the boys, we certainly did.
You see, we’re the crazy sort who absolutely loves the early morning sound of a rooster crow, the “all’s-well” greeting of each new day. More reliable than any alarm clock and much more pleasant!

A friend just so happened to have two, year-old roosters from last spring’s chick hatch who needed a new home. He offered them; we snatched at the chance, no second thoughts. And that is how Butch and Sundance came to live on the Ranch!

Contrary to their namesakes they are not outlaws at all, but very pleasant, handsome boys! Butch is a big, strapping Australorp/RIR cross, while Sundance is an Aracauna cross with beautiful colors like a sunset. He even dances around quite a lot for the hens so the name suits him perfectly! Besides, couldn’t have a “Sundance” without a “Butch”.

The hens seem quite pleased. It sure was comical to see them all stop and turn heads when the first crow sounded! A couple hens scrapped with them a bit but the boys soon told them who was in charge. Only the Yakima chicks who had been around a Roo all their lives fully accepted them right away; the Sussex girls still run away, for the time being anyway.

We look forward to our first chick hatch whenever someone decides to go broody!


Harbingers of Spring

Aside from the spring equinox, spring has really sprung in our neck of the woods. Ask residents of Ferry County what the typical harbingers of spring are here and you’ll hear answers like: seeing robins, bluebird sightings (a personal favorite), or spotting the first little sunny buttercups. 

In the past week we’ve seen all three, including twitterpated robins. Groups of juncos hop around everywhere giving our house cat some entertainment. The chickens keep escaping their yard to scratch around in the soil, much to the chagrin of our young dog who feels they should stay out of his yard.

And then our Shetland lambs have begun their arrival! The hens are providing 8-16 eggs per day. The warm sunshine and breeze feel glorious, and the soft rains are welcome! 

8 Laws of Health

Over the last few months I’ve been writing about the naturopathic Eight Laws of Health – nutrition, exercise, water, sunshine, temperance, air, rest, and trust (acronym NEWSTART) - as they relate to animals, focusing especially on dogs and cats. 

These Laws are the foundation of Natural Rearing which we practice on the Ranch. Each post offers a basic overview of one Law at a time, sort of a primer on animal naturopathy.

Visit our English Shepherd blog to read all the posts!