Friday, December 9, 2011

Breeding groups are sorted and 2011 lambs are registered!

Our breeding groups are now together for the 2011 breeding season. This year, we are using four rams - our two BFL rams, Amadeus and Byron, as well as our Shetland ram Gizmo (this is his first year breeding) and Donna's Shetland ram, Stir. We are breeding 22 ewes of which six are our yearling mule ewes. I can't wait to see what lambing brings us in the Spring.

I'm also happy to report that I am all caught up on my paperwork! This means that I finally have a "keeper" list of 2011 lambs for whom registrations have been sent in (yay!). We are retaining 10 Shetland ewe lambs and 1 mule ewe lamb as well as two Shetland ram lambs.

This year's name theme for the girls was "Flowers":

By V Creek Leo:

(Daisy pictured above)

Violet - Black gulmoget out of Ewenique Eve. She may end up on our sales list at a future date.
Daisy - Grey yuglet bersugget out of Sheltering Pines Hope. She is the coolest looking ewe lamb we've had yet!
Holly - Black gulmoget out of WillowGarden Joan Crawford. Her twin brother, Oslo, was sold to another Shetland flock as their new flock sire.

By WillowGarden Wedge:

Poppy (L) and Ivy (R) / Petunia

Ivy - Black out of Valley Road Sarah. She looks modified to me. I have to confirm with Bill, the Shetland colour expert. :-)
Poppy - Black gulmoget, twin to Ivy.
Rose - Moorit krunet sokket by Wedge, out of Ewenique Bella. I loved this girl from the day she was born. I like her even more now. She is a definite keeper.
Lilly - Black gulmoget by Ewenique Daphne
Petunia - Moorit gulmoget krunet sokket by Valley Road Sierra. She may be for sale.

By FirthofFifth Aman AI:

Azalea (pictured above) - Moorit out of WillowGarden Aretha Franklin
Tulip - Emsket out of Fibre Works Easter. A definite keeper.

Ram lambs:

Mochaccino (pictured above) - Fawn katmoget out of WilloGarden Chocolantini. He will make an awesome flock sire for someone. I just can't bring myself to put him in the freezer so we'll keep him and put together a nice starter flock for someone in the Spring. :)

As yet unnamed - Grey *scurred* ram lamb by FirthofFifth Aman AI, out of RuisDair Elwyn. What a surprise this little guy is! When I realized he was indeed scurred, I was quite speechless. He is a bit on the small side at the moment but his structure is excellent and he's got a lovely lovely fleece. So, we'll winter him and see what he looks like in the Spring. Now he needs a name. Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You know you're a redneck when...

I can't help but laugh at our most recent adventure.

Sunday was another day in the "Adventures of Danielle and Donna". When Donna and I get together, our husbands groan, and our farms' animal populations generally go up. The result of this weekend was no different. We headed off to the Renfrew Fall Bird and Small Animal Buy/Sell/Trade. I was going "just for fun" and Donna was looking for 4 more hens. Well... Donna came home with 8 hens and I came home with a new Runner hen, four Ameraucauna hens, an Ameraucauna Roo and a few nifty accessories (cages). But! I only spent $2 more than Donna and that $2 was for feed, so it doesn't count.

A friend of mine had a 5' x 8' shed that she no longer used and offered to give it to me so long as I came to get it. After having a look at it, I decided that it would, with some "minor" modifications, be ideal for a duck house or chicken coop. The need to go get the shed and start working on getting it ready for winter became a little bit greater as a result of Donna's and my most recent shopping trip.

The funny part of this adventure? Getting the shed home so that I can start the modifications to turn it into the duck house / chicken coop. Unfortunately, it turns out that the shed was not 5' wide but 5'1" wide, which is one inch too wide to fit lengthwise into our trailer. So, we improvised. LOL! It's a good thing our farm and our friend's farm, where the shed was, are only a few minutes apart and connected by seldomly driven back roads.

Loading the shed onto to the trailer, cross wise.

Another view of the loading operation.

Ready to head home. :-)

I am happy to report that the shed made it through the transportation and unloading process unharmed. The renovations start this weekend. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Busy busy busy!

Now that summer is (more or less) done, we've started on our Fall list of farm repairs and planed upgrades. Byron, our new BFL ram arrives on Saturday. I've decided that it's time to separate the horned boys from those that aren't. Last year's rut was a challenge. I prefer to have an easier time of it this year. :-)

One of the severe storms this year tore down the loafing shed in the ram pen. seeing as we had to rebuild it anyways, I decided it was an ideal time to include a few modifications. The biggest one is that the large ram pen is now divided into two smaller pens with a solid post and board fence in between.

I'm hoping that this not only keeps the boys where they belong but is also sturdy enough that if they do decide to butt heads, well... Two strands of electric will be added to discourage the boys from socializing.

The new ram shed (sorry, no pics) has a solid divider wall which creates two 10' x 10' shelters for the rams. We've also set up a shared water trough through a hole in the wall with the goal of running one less water heater this winter. There will be three rams and a wether on one side (Amadeus, Byron, Peanut and our very docile Shetland boy, Blue) and the Shetland boys on the other (Wedge, Aman, Gizmo and Twist). Just a few more minor repairs to one other fenceline to go and we'll be ready to move the boys into their new digs!

Next step: figuring out my breeding groups for this year...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where did the summer go?

Seriously. Where has the summer gone? I can't believe it's August 18th already. Fall is in the air. Nights are getting cooler, lambs are getting big and my "to do" list is still as long as ever. I've been spending some time on our sales / keeper list of late and I've got some difficult decisions ahead! We had a lovely crop of purebred Shetlands this year and there are so many that I want to keep. Unfortunately, I promised DH that the flock size would not get any bigger so that means, one baby in, one ewe out. I've got a few photos and will work on getting more over the next few weeks as I make some decisions. I thought I'd share pics of some of the keepers as well as some of the sale animals I have now. Message me, if there's anything of interest to you. The more critters you buy, the better the price will be. :-)

This is one of a set of twin ewe lambs by WillowGarden Wedge, out of Valley Road Sarah. Both girls are lovely and I'll be keeping one of them for sure. The other will likely be for sale. Sarah isn't holding her weight as well as she used to so we likely won't breed her again. Hence, why I'm keeping one of her daughters.

This is Daisy. She is a keeper. She is by V Creek Leo, out of Sheltering Pines Hope. At first, I thought she was grey but now I haven't a clue how to register her colour and pattern. The ligther part of her coat is more of a cream colour and her "spots" are brown (almost a dark moorit). Any colour experts out there wanna give this a go? Mom is grey (Ag) and dad was black gulmoget.

This is Daisy's brother. He hasn't got a name yet but he will soon as he is likely a keeper to replace Leo, whom we lost over the winter. He is a lovely solid moorit colour. Yes, he tore his ear tag out of his ear. Silly baby...

This is Petunia (our theme this year for the girls is "flowers"). She is by WillowGarden Wedge, out of Valley Road Sierra. She was a bottle baby as for some reason, Sierra rejected her at birth. Petunia is a light moorit, gulmoget, and spotted - you can see a bit of the sokket on the back legs if you look closely.

I tried to get a photo of Rose, one of our other "keeper" ewes this year but she was feeling camera shy. Rose is another Wedge daughter - can you tell I love his daughters? - moorit, some spotting and a fleece that is absolutely to die for! She is by Ewenique Bella. Bella is a fawn katmoget ewe who is now for sale. I'll be sure to get a photo of Bella in the coming days.

This is Mochaccino. He is for sale. He is by FirthofFifth Aman, out of WillowGarden Chocolantini. This boy is absolutely lovely and already a good size. His full brother, Frappaccino is at Windeyer Farm and plans are that Frap will be their future flock sire.

This is one of two ram lambs out of RuisDair Elwyn. Note the telltale "sugar lips" on him. No doubt in my mind that he is Ag (as is his dam). His twin is a dark grey (may be shaela). Both of these boys are for sale. Ellie is not. :-)

This is a set of our twin girls. Sorry, I haven't got my list in front of me so I'm not sure who their dam is. From the looks of them, I'd say that they're Wedge babies.

This is WillowGarden Twist (pre-shearing). He is for sale as I have too many rams. He is white and carries moorit. I could put together a nice starter flock for someone with him and a few of our ewes. He's a nice tempered boy, very respectful of his shepherds and easy to handle.

Another one of the ram lambs we have for sale. At first I thought he was moorit, but now I'm starting to think he may be musket. I'll have to take a closer look on the weekend. His tag number is 25 so I'll look up his parents. Given his colouring, he is likely an Aman baby. And yes, he is for sale.

I have another incredible Aman son for sale. He is mioget, lovely even fleece, nice and correct so far, horns included. He's got his sire's presence. He didn't feel like standing to have his picture taken yesterday but I'll be sure to get a shot of him this weekend. His tag number is 22 and he is as yet, unnamed.

That's everything for now. Well, almost everything...

I'm very excited about the new 4-legged addition that will be arriving in September. We've just bought a second Bluefaced Leicester ram from Windblest Farm (Amadeus' breeder). His name is Byron and he is a "natural" coloured BFL ram. He is unrelated to Amadeus and we are really looking forward to breeding him to Amadeus' yearling mule ewe daughters this year. And maybe a Shetland or two... :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mea culpa, mea culpa

It's true. I've been remiss in posting to my blog in the past month. Things have been so busy in and around the farm that time has gotten away from me.

We've finally finished lambing. I'll post the statistics and some photos in a separate blog. Out of all ewes bred, only two did not catch so I figure I'm not doing too badly. :) Lots of twinse this year and some really beautiful lambs. Our naming theme for the girls will be flowers. Not sure how I'll name the boys yet. And there are definitely some boys worth naming! So far, I have five ewe lambs that I've already tagged as keepers. Uh oh... DH may have a bit of an issue with my flock management plan this year. Hmmm...

On the duck front, we had six ducklings successfully hatch this month, four drakes and two hens. The hens will stay, the drakes will be for sale. Unfortunately, I lost my last remaining adult drake. :( it looks like the girls may have trampled him somehow. So this fall I'll be on the hunt for a new Runner Drake. It's a good excuse to hit the Fall bird auctions. We've got the new duck enclosure and summer duck condo built and the ducks will be moving into their new home this weekend. I think they'll be very happy ducks.

We'll be busy over the next few days / weeks as we begin our first cut (hay) of the season. The hay fields have grown incredibly well throughout the month of May and they are ready to be harvested. I'm hoping we'll get two cuts in this year. It would be nice not to have to buy as much hay as we've had to buy in the past few years. The past three hay seasons haven't been the greatest around here and it's about time we get a good one!

There are many more things on our "To Do" list this summer and I'm looking forward to getting to it. So off I go!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lambing update - May 18th

We are getting close to the end of lambing 2011!

This morning, our horned ewe WillowGarden Chocolatini gave birth to a lovely fawn katmoget ram lamb. This is a repeat of our 2010 breeding which produced Riverglen Farm Frappucino. Frappucino is now the flock sire over at Windeyer Farm. This year's boy is just as lovely.

This evening, I came home to Riverglen Farm Willow and her two newborn ram lambs. Sire is Wedge. I *think* both boys are grey but it's sometimes hard to tell in the first few days. I may change my mind on their colour next week. Willow is a first time mother this year. She appears to be a very good mother, typical for a Shetland.

So our statistics so far are: 9 sets of twins, 6 singles for a total of 24 lambs out of 15 ewes. We have 6 Shetlands and one crossbred left to lamb down.

And just for Bill, here is the breakdown by sire:

V Creek Leo:
3 sets of twins - 3 ewes, 3 rams
*All of Leo's lambs are on the ground now

FirthofFifth Aman AI:
2 sets of twins, 3 singles - 2 ewes, 5 rams
*We have two ewes bred to Aman that have yet to lamb

WillowGarden Wedge:
2 sets of twins, 2 singles - 4 ewes, 2 rams
*Still 3 ewes bred to Wedge that have yet to lamb

Windblest Amadeus (our BFL ram):
2 sets of twins, 1 single - 3 ewes, 2 rams
*One ewe still to go for Amadeus

Pics of the new additions will follow *hopefully* in the next day or two. Until then...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lambing Update and some new pics - May 16th

We've had a number of ewes lamb in the past few days and the nursery is getting full! We are officially past the halfway point for lambing this year and I'm starting to look forward to the end of it.

Here are pics and details of the new arrivals. I am doing this by memory so may get some of the genders wrong. I'll double check the records this evening and post corrections, if applicable.

Let's start with pics of Tatiana and Easter's babies.

I was able to get a photo of Tatiana's ewe lamb but her ram lamb appears to be camera shy. We'll have to try again later this week. The twins are sired by our BFL ram, Amadeus.

Here is a photo of Easter's ewe lamb. She is by FirthofFifth Aman. She's got a bit of a funky lamb fleece and I'm reserving judgement for now. We'll see how her fleece develops over the next few weeks. I've had a few born like her in the past whom I didn't like as newborns but had fantastic fleeces once they were 2-3 months old.

And now for the new arrivals...

Late in the evening of May 12th, WillowGarden Joan Crawford lambed twins by V Creek Leo. One ewe, one ram, both are black gulmoget. Now if only I could remember which has the krunet... It's a good thing I wrote it down. LOL!

On Friday, May 13th, Dailley Dailley presented us with a lovely pair of twins by our BFL ram, Windblest Amadeus. The white one is a ram, the other a ewe.

On Saturday evening, May 14, WillowGarden Aretha Franklin presented us with two lovely babies by FirthofFith Aman. Both are moorit. One ewe lamb, one ram lamb. Don't ask me which is which in these photos. They are both solids and I can't tell them apart unless I look at the plumbing. :-)

And finally, this morning... (Sorry, no pics yet.)

Sheltering Pines Hope produced a nice set of twins by V Creek Leo. I forgot to check genders. Will have to do that tonight!

Ewenique Daphne produce a nice big healthy ewe lamb. She's black gulmoget and by WillowGarden Wedge.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lambing Update - May 12th

The lambs continue to arrive safe and sound and at a rate of one ewe per day. I wonder if this is going to continue... :)

On Tuesday, Ewenique Tatiana delivered a nice pair of BFL cross lambs. One ewe, one ram. Both appear to be grey. The ewe lamb was getting a bit of a slow start but after some colostrum supplement courtesy of DH (Dear Hubby), she is doing just fine. She is much smaller than her sibling so we'll be leaving them in the lambing jug for an extra few days to be certain that she is getting enough to eat and is thriving.

Last evening, Fibreworks Easter delivered a HUGE single ewe lamb by FirthofFifth Aman. I purchased Easter from Vicky Foster last Fall and this girl has already earned a special place in my heart. She is the sweetest, friendliest ewe I've ever met. Easter is shaela in colour. Her ewe lamb appears to be black but I'm reserving judgement on that for a few days.

Pics of the new arrivals will be posted soon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lambing has started and so has the sales list

Last Thursday, our first lambs were born. I had expected lambs about a week earlier but apparently, the girls decided that the cold, rainy days were not suitable for newborn babies. Thank you girls! I certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness!

The girls are lambing at a leisurely rate of one ewe per day at the moment and they are being very civilized in their lambing times; no middle of the day or night arrivals so far. Fingers crossed that they continue this way.

Here are the new arrivals so far:

Thursday, May 5th: Ewenique Eve (bred to V Creek Leo)

- Dark brown (moorit?) or black gulmoget ewe lamb with a small krunet. I'm having a hard time identifying her colour right now. I'll have to give it a couple of weeks to get a better idea.
- Dark brown or black gulmoget ram lamb with a small krunet - nice tight soft fleece. Very nice lamb. I will be retaining Eve's daughter and so Eve is now for sale. She can be purchased with her baby boy as a package deal. *hint hint* :-)

Friday, May 6th: Valley Road Sarah (bred to Willow Garden Wedge)
Twin ewe lambs, one black, one moorit gulmoget. Lovely little girls. One will stay for sure, the other may be for sale. Sarah is getting older and didn't keep her weight as well as I would've liked over the winter. I'm very happy that she's given me daughters this year as this is likely to be her last lambs.

Saturday, May 7th: Riverglen Farm Bryn (bred to FirthofFifth Aman)

Twin black ram lambs. Bryn is a first time mom and just like her mother, Hebe, she is doing a fantastic job with her babies. I am not retaining any ram lambs this year so if either of these are of interest to you, let me know.

Sunday, May 8th: Ewenique Bella (bred to Willow Garden Wedge)

A lovely moorit krunet sokket ewe lamb with the nicest fleece. She's a keeper for sure!

Monday, May 9th: Willow Garden Cilantro (bred to Windblest Amadeus)

Our first Shetland x BFL mule ewe lamb was born yesterday. I had to double check my breeding records to see who I'd bred Cilantro to as I couldn't believe my eyes. Baby is a grey katmoget. DH is thinking that he'd like to keep this little girl.

More pics to follow as more babies are born.

As my friend and fellow shepherd would say, Life is good! :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The lambies are coming! The lambies are coming! And maybe some ducklings too.

Last weekend, we brought all of our ewes in to check udders, crutch those that needed crutching, and do our Spring flock health. A few of our girls are starting to get some good sized udders. Our first lambs aren't due until the first week of May but I've got a sneaking suspicion that we may have one or two of the girls go early. I'm getting anxious to see what we get this year.

For our 2011 lambs, we've used three Shetland rams and our BFL ram. We are expecting lambs from:

FirthofFifth Aman - I purchased Aman this past Fall from my friend, Bill Stearman. I have loved this boy from the first moment I saw him on Bill's farm. Needless to say, he got a lot of our girls. :)

WillowGarden Wedge (pictured above at 6 months) - he got a good sized group too. We were really happy with the lambs he gave us in 2009. We didn't use him for our 2010 lamb crop as we only bred for mules and didn't produce any purebred Shetlands in 2010.

V Creek Leo - he had three ewes including my one primitive ewe, Sheltering Pines Hope. We lost Leo unexpectedly this winter so I am really keeping my fingers crossed for some nice ewe lambs and a ram prospect from him.

Amadeus, our BFL boy received a small initial group of ewes and I also used him as our cleanup ram for this year's lambing.

In addition to lambs arriving soon, I have a dozen Indian Runner Duck eggs now sitting in an incubator at Donna's house. If all goes as planned, we'll have our first hatch of ducklings in about a month's time.

I love Spring!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Good News, Bad News

Wednesday was a "good news, bad news" kind of day. First the bad news. I lost one of my Runner drakes. I can't entirely piece together what happened but it appears that may have been injured. He passed away overnight. :(

Now for the good news. My hens are laying! We are getting approximately two duck eggs per day as of Wednesday. Although Runners are not known for being particularly broody, I've decided to leave the eggs in the nest and see what happens. The eggs are numbered and there's a chicken egg in there too. Maybe one of the Barred Rock hens will go broody? Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New additions - I have crossed over into a parallel universe

It's true. I've discovered a whole 'nuther universe. It is the universe of Birds. And I'm not talking about Angry Birds or the Alfred Hitchcock movie. I'm talking about ducks and chickens. This could be dangerous...

For those of you who know me, you know that I have two Border Collies, one of whom is a young male. Although bred for herding, Simmer is a soft dog and not naturally confident on stock. My sheep aren't particularly dog-broke which makes them difficult for a young dog like Simmer to learn on. So! I decided that I would get him some Indian Runner ducks to play with this year in the hopes that he would gain some confidence on stock. I've been regularly scanning online classifieds such as Kijiji and UsedOttawa but to no avail. My friend (and often co-conspirator) Donna, suggested that we attend the spring Eastern Bird Breeders Association (EBBA) auction as I would likely find Runners there. The auction was last Saturday, in Vernon, ON. Only a short 45 minute drive from home.
Uh oh...

The good news is that this is a "cash only" sale and I went with limited cash in my pocket. The bad news? So many birds, I didn't know where to start! Never mind that I don't have a coop, enclosure or any other kind of bird or duck house on the farm. I was surrounded by an endless sea of birds that were calling my name! I was completely mesmerized. How could I resist? Chickens, ducks, peacocks, swans (yes, swans!) and varieties of birds that I didn't even know existed. Oh my! Where had they been all my life?!

I slapped myself upside the head to bring myself back to reality. I was on a mission! I *would* be strong. I *would* resist temptation and only look for my dearly sought after Runners. Well, maybe not *just* my Runners...

At the end of the day, I can home with six Pencilled Runners (two drakes, four hens) and one Red Silkie rooster who has been dubbed "Charlie Sheen". We won't say how many new birds Donna bought. Let's just say that she came home with more birds than I did.

For now, my ducks and my roo are living at Donna's. As soon as the ground thaws, contruction will begin on my duck house and enclosure as well as my chicken coop. The plan is to have the birds home early May. In the meantime, I'm hunting for more Runner hens and maybe a Silkie hen or two (and a layer or two, or four).

Left: Charlie Sheen
Right: One of my new trios of ducks (still in the box at the auction)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

For Sale: Rvrglen Farm d'Artagnan

d'Artagnan in the Fall of 2009 at approximately 6 months of age.

Now that I've reduced my ewe flock, I've decided that I really don't need as many rams as I have. My DH is glad to hear it. :)

The first of my boys that I am offering for sale is a 2009 NASSA registered Shetland ram, d'Artagnan. He is by WillowGarden Wedge and out of Ewenique Daphne. d'Artagnan is an emsket gulmoget ram with a nice square conformation, good horns and a great looking fleece. I have not microned him yet but if he's still here come shearing time, he will be microned. I still own his sire and dam and am retaining one of his half brothers.

I really like this boy which is why he is still here and not already in someone else's barn or freezer. But! I can't keep them all especially since my friend and fellow shepherd Bill keeps enabling me by selling me sheep that I simply can't say no to. :)
I'll take some new pics this weekend and post them soon.

Price is $250.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Welcome to our new farm blog

Welcome to Riverglen Farm's new blog.

As our farm continues to evolve, I began to find it more and more difficult to keep our website ( up to date. So! The website has been taken offline and is being replaced by this new fancy schmancy blog. :)

I'm not a particularly diligent blogger and am likely only to post when something strikes my fancy or I have a new addition to the farm, or I have critters for sale. Or, or, or...

So please, if I haven't blogged in a while and you want to know what's going on, drop me a line and I'll be sure to send you an update.

D. :)