It has been a full week at the homestead.
First, we are having a heat wave…yup, it has been in the 40s during the day and the teens at night — HEAT WAVE! But really, it is such a huge improvement over the single digits and negative teens that it really does feel like a heat wave. The animals have been enjoying getting some sun and fresh air. I caught Ferdi sun bathing this morning.
The Quiet Wean device in his nose is still working great. We are very happy with it!
The sheep were shorn this week. We were hoping to get it done in January in preparation for their lambing in March, but the timing and scheduling with the shearer didn’t work out that way and our only chance until March was this week. Since they are hopefully due to lamb in March that wouldn’t work. So this week was it.
They look so small!
I’m glad we jacket them, and I hope it helps them stay warm. Winter isn’t an ideal time to shear in my mind, but it needs to be done before they lamb, which is in March, so our only choice is winter.
This was Stella’s second shearing since we have owned her, and Fiona’s first. We ended up with some very nice wool and we are excited to skirt and wash the fleece this week. Then, once we get some carders, we can actually start working with all this wool we are “growing.”
We are still battling frost bite on several combs and wattles, but the “heat wave” has helped with the healing process. The cold snap really slowed down the laying. We went from 10 eggs a day regularly to 1-2 eggs a day. I hope it picks back up a bit with the warmer weather.
The pullet who had frozen legs twice is still alive. She has not had her legs freeze up again. We hope it was kind of a freak thing and that it is over now and she will be normal.
Things are not going well with the rabbits. Both Fuzz and Ebony were due to kindle this week on Wednesday.
Fuzz, as usual, did excellent and put all 9 kits safely in the nest box and covered them with plenty of fur. And then they all died. We have NO idea what happened. It looked like only two were stillborn and the rest were born alive. They did not freeze to death. She did not harm or damage them. They just all died. It was so wierd and very disturbing. We have never had this happen before. It caused us all quite a bit of upset and worry. We have been closely watching Fuzz ever since to be sure she doesn’t get mastitis. She seems to be recovering well so far.
Ebony was the doe that had a kit stuck last time and was in labor for several days and finally had one stillborn on day 35 and one on day 37. It was a disaster. Well this round is not showing good signs either. She is now on day 35 and hasn’t done anything. So she either didn’t get pregnant at all, or she is having troubles again. We are keeping a close eye on her and waiting.
Christmas Homestead Baskets
We have been putting the finishing touches on the Christmas homestead baskets and most are ready to be delivered. Every item in the basket is homemade and each family member helped and made something for the baskets. It was a fun family project, and I think the baskets will be well received. Each basket is a little bit different, based on who they are going to. But here is a look at some of the stuff going into them.
We baked several types of cookies that will be going into a jar in each basket as well.
We have another full week ahead of us as we prepare for Christmas and continue to move forward with projects and plans around the homestead.