Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Here's our first pictures of Kitty and her kittens. They were born on Sunday evening - in the garage - during a thunderstorm. Awwww - aren't they so cute.
Kitty is a little stray cat that has been hanging around for a few months. She was terrified of people at first - and now - she just loves human contact. She had the babies behind some sheets of plywood that were leaning up against a wall - on top of an old towel that had fallen on the floor. Tonight I went out and moved the kittens to a box with a nice clean towel. Kitty was totally relaxed as I picked each one up and examined it - then put it into the box. Then I picked her up and set her in with them. She didn't even mind the flash on the camera when I took the picture. I will be contacting ARF to see about adopting them out - and then, we will be having kitty spayed and keeping her for our little garage kitty. And at this time - I would like to get on my soapbox about the spay and neuter of cats and dogs - PLEASE spay and neuter. It stops the explosion of unwanted animals out there. So many are put down each year at shelters - needlessly - and many, many more are killed on the roads - or starve to death from neglect.
Please spay and neuter - sure it costs money - but it is the most humane way to deal with animals. And don't ever believe that every female cat should have a litter of kittens to be a better cat - I have 7 female cats here - not one of them has ever had a kitten - and they are all the most loving and gentle cats ever. Ok - off my soapbox now.

Well - a few posts ago - I promised to put up pictures of our new lambs. I know - you thought I meant little lambs. No, no.

On August 1st - I went to Ottawa with my DH and took some sheep to a friend who is just starting out with Shetlands. I took my daughter back to work in Ottawa - she was home on leave for the week. Then we stopped at another friends farm who is downsizing her flock, and we came home with 3 shetlands - 2 of them lambs, 1 was a mature ewe that I had sold her last year. This first little cutie is Galya. She's an all white little butterball. I need a few more white sheep in my flock as I am having so many calls for white fleeces that I can't fill all the orders. So hopefully she turns out nice. Her fleece is quite dense - she does come from Whistlestop Lerwick genetics, so I am quite hopeful. She is still quite shy, but we're working on that.

This next little darling is still unnamed. I'm thinking of calling her Wren, or Gwen. I haven't decided yet. She too is shy. She is out of Greta - the ewe that I brought back - Greta is a mioget - so she also carries mioget genetics. I love her big moorit spot - and her pink nose.
I have a soft spot for pink noses.
That's her mom Greta standing behind her in the picture - she is a cute thing. If you talk to her - she'll bleet back at you. She's got a very soft fleece which I have high hopes for. Her mom has a long, wavy - but very soft fleece. This little one has quite a bit of crimp in hers - but also very soft.

What do you think - Wren - or Gwen?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Fowl

This post is about the male fowl on this farm. As I stated in my previous post, I have been raising chickens for about 18 years or so. We started out with a few chickens at our first country property, just for eggs. We have had as many as 40 chickens, and been down to as few as 2 when a raccoon got into the coop once. At times, I have debated getting rid of all of the chickens - as I did earlier this year. However, right now, I find myself enjoying them once again. By the way, I am allergic to feathers - only mildly though - as long as I don't stick my face in their feathers - or sleep with them - I am fine.

As far as roosters go - I try not to have too many at any one time. However - sometimes it's hard not to have several at one time. I find that if you have an average of 6 hens per rooster, then there is less fighting amongst the roosters, and the hens don't suffer as much from overly-eager roosters. In other words - give them all their own little harem - and they're happy.

So here goes: This first fella is our largest Rooster on the farm. He's a dorking - which is an older breed. If you notice - he is standing beside a couple of regular size Hens. "Cuckoo" stands about 18" tall. He also has 4 toes, which is a distinguishing character of this breed. I am currently looking for some dorking hens for him - as he is doing a number on the feathers of my much smaller hens.
This next rooster is an Americauna - which is a cross of the Aurucana. He is my last Americauna rooster that I have left. At one time, I had 14 of them. I'm also down to only one Americauna hen, so I am looking for some more of them as well. Although he is smaller than the Dorking Rooster, he isn't much smaller. He stands around 14-16" tall.
This little fella is a bantam rooster. Like the Sebrights - he is small - and feisty. He's probably about 6 years old now - and doesn't mix it up like he used to with the other roosters. I do like the bantam roosters as they are very proud little birds.
This little buff Silkie rooster has just left us. No, he didn't die. I sold him to a young fella just outside of London, Ontario who also likes the silkies. Note , he has a lovely walnut comb. He was a feisty young fella. One night as I was gathering eggs - he came up behind me and just nailed my hand so hard I thought he had broken it. I wasn't really sorry to see him leave after that incident.
This old guy is my white silkie rooster. This poor guy is notorious for getting tangled up. If there's a piece of string anywhere in the barnyard - he will find it. He has deformed spurs, so string does get wrapped around his feet easily. He's getting old, and is relatively gentle. One thing I find is that the silky roosters don't engage the other roosters at all - but the others will pick on them.
This little fella is my favourite rooster. He is a buff cochin bantam. I just got him from the young fella near London. I hadn't planned on getting any roosters from him - but this fella just caught my eye. He's very docile and loves to be petted and held. I like him so much that I am going to pick up his brother this weekend.
And last - but not least - and not a chicken - is Norman. He is a Toulouse Gander. In my last post, I mentioned that Norman is getting attached to Alice. Norman came to us 4 years ago after his parents were killed by dogs. His current owner noticed our nice pond and asked if we would like him. I just happened to be looking for a guard goose and said yes. Norman is my pet, and will follow me everywhere - when he's not following Alice. He will walk by your side and chat to you as you wander through the woods or the pasture. He does on occasion get angry and mix it up with one of the sheep. But for the most part - he gets along well with everyone.

That is it for the male fowl - oops - I'm wrong. We do have some drakes on the property as well - but they didn't want to come up for pictures tonight, so I will have to talk about them another time.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Just in General

The weather has cooled considerably, and life is much calmer here. It's been busy. We've been delivering and picking up sheep, sorting sheep for shipping, and getting ready for the cross Canada trek to Newfoundland in a couple of weeks.

Yesterday, I went to Fergus (actually, I went to IKEA in Hamilton), and met a friend, Shauna Gray. She has sold her farm, and is moving, so she gave me a couple of chickens that she had left.

These little guys are Silver Sebright Bantams. They are very tiny 6 - 8" tall (there is also a hen in behind one of the roosters). They are feisty little devils. I came out to the barn this morning to find all of my cochins sitting in the aisle outside the chicken stall - with the 4 Sebrights guarding the entrance. The cochins are very docile gentle chickens - so we'll see how this works out.

I have been raising chickens for the last 18 years (even though I am allergic to feathers). I will post some pictures of my other types of birds soon.

While meandering through the barnyard today with my camera - I just couldn't resist taking pictures of a few of my favourite fleeces on the hoof.
This first fleece is Jillian (click on the picture to make it larger). She is a medium gray .
Lovely single coated with lots and lots of crimp. I'm looking forward to spinning up her fleece next year.
This one is Gabriella, a beautiful soft white, crimpy single coated yearling ewe. Both of these girls are super friendly - and really love to be cuddled. That's what I love about Shetland sheep.
They are cuddly.

OK now, and for the completely bizarre (and where was my camera)??? I was walking out to the barn tonight to put the ewes into their stall (yes, my sheep are spoiled) - but we are dealing with a black bear on the property right now. I did a double take as I walked out - Norman - our Gander, was very gently grooming Alice, my elderly white ewe over by the fence. I watched in amazement as he picked at her wool. I called her over, as I thought he might be intimidating her, and she calmly walked away - obviously she was enjoying this. I went back out a few minutes later to see him at it again. I must try to get pictures. Very bizarre.

By the way - Norman has in the past also been very attached to one of our female llamas, and our rottweiler dog. I'm sure he's deranged.

Stay tuned for updates on the new lambs.