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NorthfieldNick

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Posts posted by NorthfieldNick

  1. Stinky, whose real name was Brandy, but that never fit her as well, was found wandering an abandoned cattle ranch on the Canadian prairie. We'll never know if she ever worked stock, but she never showed much interest here. Instead, she chased cars. Careful management finally got her out of that habit.

     

    Stinky was a mountain goat of a dog, scampering up rock faces and across logs on the coast. She was full of odd quirks, like any good Border Collie. She was forever the fun police, snarking at anyone having too much fun right up until the end.

     

    Despite her general crabbiness, Stinky managed to be the solace for several people in her life- one through the loss of two husbands, the other after a long-term relationship ended abruptly.

     

    Amazingly, at her lest vet visit a month ago, Stinky got a clean bill of health aside from her old-dog ailments of arthritis, deafness, and loss of vision. Stinky's mind was still good, and she wandered around the farm being a general pest, getting in the way and whatnot.

     

    Several days ago, Stinky's hips pretty much let go, and she had trouble even standing long enough to eat her meals. It was just time, and she went peacefully at home yesterday. She's buried along the fence line, and we'll plant a crabapple over her. It'll be fitting for a cranky old dog.

     

    Rest in pain-free peace, Stinky. It's awfully quiet around here without you.

     

    530j9d.jpg

     

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  2. It's looking more like I'm going to go looking for a BFL.

     

    gail, that's actually where I was looking for rams. Her rams look REALLY nice, and if it were my own flock, I'd be calling Janet. Unfortunately, this is for a flock I manage, and the folks who own it have some odd ideas about their sheep. I doubt I could convince them to pay $800+ for ram they can't go see. I also can't convince them to just get hair sheep when the wool from the past two years has ended up on the compost heap! Oh well, the sheep are nice & the job pays well :rolleyes:

  3. Wow, are squash just not a popular veggie in the UK? They are a North American native. Once you try some, though, you may eat it rather than give it to the dogs :rolleyes: Our dogs will happily eat the skins after we've eaten the flesh.

     

    I have one dog who is severely allergic to regular potatoes (do you know how hard it is to find dog food without potatoes?!), so my dogs get sweet potatoes (sometimes called yams, although that's a misnomer). You can slice them thin and bake them int the oven until they're dry & crispy (or use a food dehydrator). They make great dog chews! Over here, you can buy bags of them, but it's cheaper to do it yourself. Add a little salt & they make great people chews, too :D

     

    Wow, do you think I used enough parenthenses in this post?

  4. More ram questions!

     

    I've been looking into the IDF that folks recommended... Anyone know of any available on the WEST coast that cost less than $1500? I'm not paying that much for a sheep that I can't go see, and then I'd still be hard pressed to pay that much for a sheep.

     

    How do BFL cross lambs do as butcher lambs? My flock is grass-fed, plus some alfalfa pellets at weaning and in the winter. I personally love the BFLs, especially the fleece :rolleyes: I'd be okay with a BFL ram for now- I'm in need of replacements; a bunch of those ewes are getting old, and I haven't been happy with the daughters of the rams I've used for the past several years (hence the need for a new ram!)

     

    If I went with something like a BFL for a maternal sire, I could deal with something less-than-ideal like a Dorset (most I've seen that have been brough here have foot problems in this wet climate), since I'd just be butchering all the lambs anyways.

     

    Thanks!

  5. Last year, I paid $4/bale for 50-60Lb local grass hay, which has the nutrient content of cardboard- I buy it for the horses when it gets cold since I have no shelter for them. We paid $350/ton for good Eastern WA timothy hay, but that price includes delivery, which involves a lengthy ferry ride. The timothy was ungodly expensive, but we don't have to feed as much of it as we did with the orchard grass we had last year.

     

    This year, I went to alfalfa pellets for the sheep. I can get organic pellets, delivered, for $825/1.5 metric tonnes (it comes from Canada), that's 3,300 Lbs. Combined with some half-way decent hay and stockpiled pasture, my ewes looked great on about 1 Lb/head/day and the overwintered market lambs (ie, born the previous Feb) on 2 Lbs/head/day. The pellets also take up MUCH less room than the hay storage!

     

    Edited because I can not type tonight!

  6. Nick & I have had more chances to work cows lately since the dairy calves in the back field have decided it's their job to inform me when the hotwire isn't working. Nick loves working cows- he turns on in a way he doesn't on sheep. (I'm told his mother was a good cow dog, but I have no real idea- Marianna Schreeder's Kate?) However, Nick barks when he's working cows. Not constantly, and it seems to come about when he's at their heads turning them back when they're taking off for the hills (well, the shore, in this case). These are young calves, 6-8 weeks old, and they get worked by my friend's dog, as well. Nick has never barked while working sheep. We don't often work cows- I think they're big and scary- so I'm wondering if this is a confidence thing, although Nick doesn't seem to have any trouble with the calves. Any thoughts?

     

    Thanks!

  7. Huh, I always thought IDF were hair sheep... shows how much I go looking at sheep photos! :rolleyes: If I can find a flock on the wet side of the mountains (for any breed), I can often find sheep that have been selected to have feet that can handle our wet weather. I have, however, been amazed at some of the foot problems people put up with! I like to trim my sheep once a year... that's if running up the road doesn't take care of it for me.

  8. I'd like some input on breeds for a ram for this flock that I manage. There are several criteria, some of which I find ridiculous, but they're not my sheep, so whatever.

     

    The ewes are pretty cross-bred- some mostly Coopworth, some half NCC, some half Romney, a wee bit of Katahdin (I think it's just three ewes with any Kat, and they're 1/4 or less). Entirely grass-fed, hay and alfalfa in the winter. NO GRAIN!

     

    I'd like something that could be a maternal sire if there's a really nice ewe lamb, but mostly it'd be a terminal sire. I'm not looking to grow this flock much, and I already have a nice Romney for a maternal sire.

     

    Must be/have:

     

    1) Wooly. White. I suggested a nice Suffolk (we have some REALLY nice non-show bred ones on island), and the black head & legs were a turn-off.

     

    2) Fairly fast growing. I often hold lambs over the winter (born in Feb-March, slaughtered the next May) to hang at 45-50 Lbs, but I've been trying to butcher more in the fall if I can.

     

    3) Good feet. It's W-E-T here when it's not summer. Sheep with bad feet don't last.

     

    4) Good parasite resistance, although I know this is debatable and subjective. No one ever says, "This breed is very prone to parasites."

     

    I really liked the NCC rams I used, but they're both dead, as is the woman who bred them. These ewes are big, and disposed to having big lambs already, and if I wasn't careful, the NCC put HUGE lambs in them.

    Going back to a Coopworth might work, but I like to keep the cross-bred thing going in the ewes.

     

    I already have a lovely Kat ram from Pat Shannahan who I use on the first-timers and any ewes I don't want replacements from. The folks who own this flock don't like the look of hair sheep (yeah, yeah, I know), so breeding too many to the Kat is pushing my luck.

     

    I'm waiting on one of my own Cotswold ewes to see if she has a white ram lamb. I've had great success with my half-Cot market lambs, but I've only got black rams right now.

     

    Okay, this sounds like a lot of stipulations, but I enjoy these sheep, and the job pays well!

     

    Any breed suggestions? I'm in NW WA state, but am willing to travel a bit to find a ram.

     

    Thanks!

  9. If Nick could choose, he'd be a woman's dog. He is in love with my friend Claire. If she had sheep, he'd go home with her. He knows her car. I'm convinced the reason that I got Nick is that his previous owner, a man, and him just didn't get along. That said, I'm a man, and Nick works happily and wonderfully for me. I've never had anyone else work him- my only stockdog-savvy friend here... well, I'm not overly fond of her technique. Nick does seem to prefer the company of women though (poor guy... didn't know he'd end up living with two men!)

  10. Well, whatever it was is done with. The ewe was walking sound when I moved them to a new pasture on Monday. They were grazing around a windmill, and I'm wondering if the ewe caught herself on part of the pole that's on the ground. The sheep could walk around it, or walk over the part that's IN the ground but no, they have to go 2 feet out of their way to jump over a pole.

     

    Thanks!

  11. Becca, I live on a small island (roughly 7 mi x 2 mi), and I don't think we have blackleg around here. I think I'd probably have heard of it... She has no swelling anywhere. I also did check her feet- they looked fine and were also trimmed when they were wormed (do feet in winter- hooves much softer than in dry July!). I never though about her lambs knocking her around. They did give her a serious jolt when they went to nurse tonight. They're HUGE, so that wouldn't surprise me.

     

    Thanks!

  12. Here's the scoop:

     

    6 year old ewe, raising hefty twin rams (they're just about 8 weeks old), in reasonable condition for a ewe putting everything into her lambs. She's raised twins every year but one, darn nice lambs. Yesterday, when I went to feed, she was off by herself, but it was rainy and she was tucked into the trees. She got up to come over to the trough, and she was walking like her left hind leg had gone to sleep. She still managed to get over to the feed & shove everyone out of the way for her share. She's my number two ewe- her full sister is my flock matriarch.

     

    Today, she's still lame, although not as bad. She trotted up with everyone else for feed, she just looked like she was drunk! She's grazing, eating, and nursing her lambs. I palpated her whole leg, and I can't find any painful spots. She does have a small scrape, superficial, no broken skin, just forward of and below her left hip.

     

    The sheep have been on pasture that hasn't been grazed in about 10 years. They were all wormed with Valbazen before I turned them out- about 2 weeks ago. The sheep have minerals available at all times. No other sheep have symptoms.

     

    Any ideas?

     

    This is a fairly valuable ewe, so it's worth treating her if she needs it.

     

    Thanks!

  13. The are where both Julie & I live has extremely deficient soils. When I first started with sheep, I was warned to always keep minerals in front of them. I'm generally pretty good about it, and I'm still amazed at how fast my ewes blow through the minerals from lambing to weaning. I can think of several cases of white muscle disease here in the past year or two.

     

    Julie, I like the Range Country sheep minerals by Wilbur-Ellis. They're more expensive than the stuff in the brown bag (SE-30, I think), but they're worth it. I mix some kelp meal into the minerals, as well. You can get both at Skagit Farm Supply, at least the one in Mt Vernon (they're re-doing their floor, so you have to ask for just about everything right now.)

     

    Good luck with the lamb.

  14. I'd forgotten I posted this thread :rolleyes:

     

    Bill, I stick to on-label for the market lambs. It's the ewes who need some help. I really cracked down last year and culled most of the ewes who just couldn't handle the parasites. I have a few more that I've added to the list for this year.

     

    I was wondering why I couldn't find levamasole anywhere. Nuts!

     

    Lenajo, could you give more info on copper bolusing? We have very deficient soils here, and our sheep can handle more copper in their minerals than is normally recommended. I know when we added copper to our goats' diets, their parasite loads dropped way down.

     

    I've read about using & talked to folks who use garlic as a wormer. It seems to work where the parasite load is low, but it's a lot of labor to get it into the sheep- peel garlic, make into a slurry thin enough to go through a drench gun, drench, refill reservoir- it takes a LOT of garlic slurry to worm sheep, apparently. My BIL grows a ton of garlic every year (I'm not kidding- he markets it), so I have ready access to his "cull" heads for free, so I might try the garlic thing on my own flock.

     

    Back to planning how to fund running broilers behind the sheep...

     

    Thanks!

  15. I'd forgotten I posted this thread :rolleyes:

     

    Bill, I stick to on-label for the market lambs. It's the ewes who need some help. I really cracked down last year and culled most of the ewes who just couldn't handle the parasites. I have a few more that I've added to the list for this year.

     

    I was wondering why I couldn't find levamasole anywhere. Nuts!

     

    Lenajo, could you give more info on copper bolusing? We have very deficient soils here, and our sheep can handle more copper in their minerals than is normally recommended. I know when we added copper to our goats' diets, their parasite loads dropped way down.

     

    I've read about using & talked to folks who use garlic as a wormer. It seems to work where the parasite load is low, but it's a lot of labor to get it into the sheep- peel garlic, make into a slurry thin enough to go through a drench gun, drench, refill reservoir- it takes a LOT of garlic slurry to worm sheep, apparently. My BIL grows a ton of garlic every year (I'm not kidding- he markets it), so I have ready access to his "cull" heads for free, so I might try the garlic thing on my own flock.

     

    Back to planning how to fund running broilers behind the sheep...

     

    Thanks!

  16. Bill, they don't. I tried it, and they went to pieces. We get some serious wind here, and it ripped the top off the staked-in bottom. What worked for me was to build a base of wood, then use piping (I used 3/4" irrigation mainline) to make a hoop house on top. I used shade cloth & greenhouse plastic for shelter on one end. Those work great for seasonal birds- the snow flattens them. My year-round birds (the layers) are in wooden tractors. Heavy, yes, but I'm not opposed to work :rolleyes: The only thing I need to fix on the hoop houses is to put a better center brace in.

     

    ((Where was I? Had to go pour wine on the brisket braising in the oven.))

     

    Right, center bracing. My center braces were too weak & got smashed in the snow because I was too lazy to drag the (empty) tractors into the barn.

     

    You could always do like my friend does: uses oxen to drag along big, heavy chicken tractors & pig houses!

  17. In addition to my own flock, I manage a small flock of crossbred ewes. These sheep are run on about 40 acres that have had nothing but sheep on them for a decade or so. The parasite problem is terrible there, due in large part to poor management by a previous shepherd. I manage parasites in my own flock mostly by rotating pastures and multi-species grazing; I worm my own ewes maybe twice a year. I can and do run regular fecals on them.

     

    This other flock... gah! They need to be wormed often. Four to six times a year, at least. That might not be much for some places, but around here, it's a lot. AFAIK, the only thing the previous manager ever used was ivermectin, and it's now pretty much ineffective there. I've used Valbazen & Cydectin, but I'd like to get away from those to avoid building resistance.

     

    What else is there that works? I'm not opposed to off-label use.

     

    The folks who own this flock refuse to let me move at least the lambs to other pastures. I'm working on a plan to run chickens behind the sheep to help clean up, and I've been selecting hard for parasite resistance (before I took over, there were basically no standards for selecting replacements). I've cut down the number of sheep there, as well, to allow for less re-grazing, although at this point, the parasite load is so heavy, it hardly matters. I'd say they should just get rid of the sheep for a while, but the job pays well!

     

    Thanks!

  18. Bill, I'd be interested to see your numbers and how you worked them out. My family raised meat birds forever, but I haven't done it in a few years. I's like to get back into it, mostly to fill my own freezer, but now that the WA state rules have changed, maybe sell a few. Mostly, I want to run them behind sheep to help with parasites.

     

    Brenda, chickens are GREAT at fertilising and de-bugging garden space. They are also GREAT at getting eaten by anything and everything that can eat them. Electronet is your best friend. That, along with a roofed chicken tractor (bottomless, movable pen) has reduced my predator losses to nothing. I'm still working on how to let my birds range in the net pen but not get eaten by eagles (I live in the most eagle-populated spot in the lower 48, seriously).

     

    Nothing beats fresh eggs, and nothing, and I mean NOTHING compares to the taste of home raised, pasture-fed meat birds!

     

    (ETA: Okay, that last line makes zero sense. I'm drugged up on cold meds. I blame those. :rolleyes:)

  19. Fairly off topic, but...

     

    Sally, FWIW, I used to harvest champignon-type mushrooms that grew in the spots where I had round bales out for horses at a breeding farm I used to manage. The horses never touched the fungus. Of course, these were Holsteiners, and they don't call them "dumb-bloods" for nothing... (Says the person who has border collies and Arabs...)

  20. Northfield is a Shape Note tune in the Sacred Harp song book. It's a simple tune, with a wonderful fugue as the second line of each verse. It was also the name of the group I sang with in Maine. It always seemed that no matter how off we were that night, or how many new people were there, Northfield (the song) always sounded beautiful, the harmonies perfect. Singing is such a release for me- at that time I was writing my thesis, and it was such a renewing time belting out old songs!

     

    About a year before I started my farm, I had a dream where there was a sign that said Northfield Farm with plants sprouting out of the stems of the shape notes. I had never considered it for a farm name until then, but it was immediately perfect.

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