It’s been the week of new life; our garden is starting to grow well (as are the weeds!) and our little farm is bustling with activity.
We’ve got several broody hens who’ve been hoarding eggs so Dan made a nifty cage that covers right in front of a nesting box and now one of our Silver grey dorkings has gotten down to business with about a dozen eggs. They always look so fierce once they starting setting a clutch.
Then Sunday afternoon, we’d all heard cheeping that we though was a bird but then as short while later, Kathleen came running in the house ecstatically calling, “there are little chicks, I saw them!”
And sure enough, one of the Silver Dorkings had gotten underneath a board in one of the compost boxes and there she’d hatched out eight teeny chicks. This was one of the reasons that I started Silver Grey Dorkings, because I’d read that they are wonderful for going broody and thus far this is correct.
Come Monday morning and Aneliese went out first thing to feed the bunnies and let the sheep out to graze when she came in with her exciting news. Maisie, one of the Shetland ewes, had just given birth! This is our first lamb and we didn’t expect her to lamb for another week according to my calculations. But there he was as healthy and hearty as anything. Other than giving Maisie a little milking to make sure that the plugs in her teats were out (thanks to a local sheep farmer for that tip, I’d have never known otherwise), all was well.
We’d been feeling a bit nervous and unprepared because we know very little about sheep and we already lost a calf at the end of 2016 so it was a relief to just be able to watch and let the sheep do their thing.
This is Little Wesley and he’s as little and cute as ever a lamb could be. Within an hour, he was already curiously sniffing around and trying to jump. Now a few days later, he runs all over, kicking up his heels and then sinking into the long grass for a little nap before going at it again. It’s adorable.
Inevitably, I get asked the all important question; what do you do with the animals? Yes, we do raise animals for meat. Not all but some. For, example on a good day with chicks, we might get half hens and half roosters in a clutch and we don’t need more roosters so eventually, we process them. And so on.
The next question I’m always asked, is why do you name them and make them friendly. Well, for a few of reasons. One, just try to keep three little children away from cute baby animals. For two, it’s just easier to identify the animals by their names on a farm of our size. We’re small, not using tags or brands etc and it’s just easier to say “Benjamin(the bunny buck) needs water.” Or ” Leave Maisie in the barn and put Belle out.”. Then finally and most importantly, tame animals are easier to handle and generally calmer. If they are used to all of us working with them, they are less stressed which is very important to us. We don’t have any ideal set ups for doctoring animals or loading them up into the trailer so we need to be able to do things like lead the steer to the road and into the trailer with out worrying that they will run away.
Anyways, that was just a bit of a random side note, I had just planned on telling you about the all the new babies. We’re a bit of a zoo around here right now. The girls rotate between catching tadpoles in the pond, to farm babies, to their gardens….to whatever adventure strikes their fancy. It’s pretty great.