So on Sunday April 11th I woke up from my nap after having worked Sat night and frank says to me "what do you think about triplets?" and I was like huh.... then he said "black triplets...." and I was like double huh.... It took me a minute to get my brain screwed on straight and I realized he was talking about Mary our ewe who decided sometime Sunday morning to grace us with black triplet lambs with no muss or fuss! All black, 2 ewes and 1 ram, all healthy, and all nursing. Go Mary go! I have to say despite the fact that Mary was ginormous I in no way shape or form expected triplets and I certainly didn't expect black triplets. Frank and I who were aiming for an all white flock somehow ended up with all black lambs! Oh well good thing we don't care all that much since we are breeding for meat and not for fibre. The ewe lambs we will keep and I think we have decided to name them Bette and Boop- how we will be able to tell them apart I have no clue b/c as far as I can tell they are basically identically. The ram lamb will grace our freezer this fall so remains unnamed.
So Since Mary and Bo were bred about the same time we were thinking that Bo might have her lamb sometime soon as well. And she did...sometime early Tues morning we suspect. We're not really sure since she also delivered with no muss or fuss, twim lambs a ewe and a ram, one white and one black and white speckled! Of course the all white one is a ram and the speckled one is a ewe but that's life on the farm. The ewe lamb we have named Peep and again the ram will remained nameless since he is destined for the freezer as well. So that brings the total sheep count from 4 to 9! We more than doubled the herd. We still have the 2 cotswold rams from Nikki and James and I think the plan might be to sell those guys since we don't need to have that much lamb in our freezer, we have no need to keep them for the fibre and someone else might want them for fibre or meat- I don't actually care which! Maybe if they were whethers I would keep them for the fibre but I don't want to have to deal with 2 extra rams running about! Especially since the plan is to buy a new ram next month to rebreed Mary and Bo. So we'll have 3 Dorset freezer lambs in the fall, hopefully Mary and Bo will be rebred, and we'll have the 3 ewe lambs which we'll be keeping to breed next year. We banded all the lamb's tails on Wednesday and had planned on castrating the rams but they needed a little more time to get everything where it should be so we can easily band castrate them so they will get done early next week. We have to ear tags but since we have only the 3 girls that we will be keeping we are going to wait a bit to tag them so their ears don't get too droopy.
Next to have babies will be Mary- who I swear I keep thinking she is going to drop that calf anyday but she keeps getting bigger and bigger. Last Sunday we thought she was going to calve for sure b/c the calf really dropped but still no calf and it's almost a week later! It's hard to say when she was bred though since we had the bull for 2 months so in reality she could have the calf anytime between now and then end of May! This is a sweet pic of her and Lucy. I'm hoping that Molly will have a heifer calf, which we would keep for a milk cow seeing as Molly is getting older and I'm not sure how many more calving years she will have. Plus this calf will be a Jersey.shorthorn cross which I think should make a good milk combo. Once Molly calves we have plans to lease a Angus cross bull to come in and breed both Molly and Lucy. Frank also wants to buy a yearling steer for a beef for the fall but he has to find one to buy first!
So total animal count: 9 sheep (5 ewes, 4 rams), 2 milk cows, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 34 chickens give or take (including one rooster we think.... mmmm fried chicken), 4 muscovy ducks (2 of whom are sitting on egg clutches so we should have more duckies in another few weeks), 2 geese (who have a nest but MJ hasn't actually sat on it at all so will we have goslings?..who knows), and 3 khaki campbell ducks. So in July we should have more eggs than we know what to do with! This pic is of Xander with Linney and Fame, the 4-hers Brown Swiss cows. They are working on getting Linney bred as well.
Animals to purchase/lease: 1 angus x bull for breeding, 1 yearling steer for meat, 1 ram for breeding, and possibly a couple of goats for brush management and meat. I'm open to the possibility of having milk goats too but with the milk cow it seems somewhat unecessary and it would require us to buy a cream seperator which is darn expensive!
Tomato and brocoli seedlings went in on Easter and we had adequate germination this year. We'll have enough for us and maybe a few extras to sell- not as many as I was hoping. And if it ever stops raining long enough for the ground to dry out we'll get the first round of manure dumped on the garden and tilled. The strawberry patch needs some major overhauling so it may not be a good strawberry year but the raspberries look to be in great shape, blackberries are also looking good and if we get the trellis on the grapes they shouldbe alright as well. The peaches and apples were already budding- here's hoping it doesn't get too cold and freeze all the buds! Actually the whole orchard looked pretty good so we may start to see some fruiting this year.
So that's the spring farm update!