Sunday Homestead Update – So Much to Talk About

Sometimes there is so much going on at the farm that the weekly post gets very long and full – this is one of those weeks.  So settle in with some coffee or tea – we have some interesting stories.

Gardening

There really never is a dull moment around here.  Life is a constant adventure.  And just when we think we might be about to have a dull moment, something happens.

A couple of weeks ago, Mtn Man bought our new strawberry and raspberry plants, and another gooseberry bush.  Since we are still pretty far out from planting them outdoors, we set the gooseberry bush in the dining room next to the black currant that I talked about last week.  They were both doing well in the sunshine from the glass door.  Then one morning (just when I thought we might have a dull moment), I walked by and noticed that there was a big mess all over the floor under the gooseberry bush.  It was sitting on a white plastic trash bag, and the bag was covered with what looked like dirt.  I moved closer to inspect the issue and was horrified to see that the bush, the pot, and the floor around it was covered with hundreds of little green worms, and the “dirt” I thought I was seeing was their droppings.  ~insert horror flick scream~  There were some worms starting to try to climb up on the black currant bush too.  And almost all the leaves on the gooseberry were gone – totally destroyed and eaten.  It seems the worms had hatched on the gooseberry bush a day or so ago, had eaten until there was nothing left to eat, and pooped all over the place, and they were now jumping ship and heading out to find more food.

I called for the kids and we all immediately jumped into action.  Little Miss, who is the most squeamish about these things, decided to help by taking Mr. Smiles to another room to play, since his presence would have been less than helpful – and really, her presence would have been as well as she would have been squirming and squealing every few seconds.  Young Man took the plants outside and sprayed them thoroughly with neem oil.  Braveheart, Sunshine, and I proceeded to painstakingly clean up every single worm by sweeping and picking them up with tweezers and putting them into a little plastic container.

It was so gross.  They were everywhere.  They were climbing up the legs of the dining room table and chairs.  They were under the hutch, they were all over the floor and in the door jam and every nook and cranny that could be found.  We had to take all the dishes out of the hutch and move it so we could get under it.  And it seemed the more we cleaned up, the more there were.  Some were so tiny you couldn’t barely see them with the naked eye.  Others were more obvious.  The kids stopped counting after we got to 350.  After an hour of cleaning we had gotten the majority of them.  We continued to find them randomly here and there for the next few days (eeek, gross!)  After we cleaned up we looked online to try to figure out what they were.  They were Imported Currant Worms.  Our bush came from the store thoroughly infested with them.

Braveheart was pretty happy when were finished, not only because we were finished, but because he was excited to take the container of worms out to feed to his chickens.  They got a nice meal from our misery.

Unfortunately, the neem oil did not seem to have any effect.  We knew we would have to bring the bushes in before dark or they would freeze outside.  But they were still covered with worms.  So I decided the best place for them would be in the bathtub.  That way, any mess that was made could be washed down, and if any worms came off them, they couldn’t climb the smooth walls.  So we brought them back in and checked on them every so often to be sure no worms were “escaping.”  Sunshine took it upon herself to battle the worms – every couple hours she would go in and use tweezers to pick the worms off one at a time until she was bored of it.  She did an excellent job and by the end of the day none of us could find any more.  But we knew there was no way we had gotten them all, so we left them in the tub.  After a few days of finding and removing the few stragglers, we moved them back to the dining room.

The once fully-leafed gooseberry is now almost bald from the invasion.  It will need a lot of recuperating.

Goat

Pansy is about ready to pop.  Yesterday was her due date, though her previous owner told us she generally goes late.  She dropped significantly Wednesday and has been miserably uncomfortable ever since.  I feel ya, girl.  I know exactly what that feels like.  LOL.  By her size I am guessing it has got to be twins.  Any day now.

Unlikely Roommates

We have an interesting living situation going on right now.  Normally, the ram lives in the back pen during the day and the smaller stall at night.  The ewes, lambs, chickens, and Anya (the LGD) live in the big barnyard during the day and the large stall and jugs at night.  Because the large stall is getting more crowded lately, Anya has been living in the big barnyard with the ewes, lambs, and chickens during the day, but then sleeping in the ram’s stall with him at night.  When we have an extra rooster we have one rooster living with the flock in the big barnyard and coop, and then one rooster living in one of chicken pens in the barn.  We generally only have two roosters for shorter amounts of time because I don’t like keeping any animals in tight quarters.  So I don’t want either rooster stuck in the indoor pen for longer than a few weeks at a time.  It is plenty of space, technically, but we like our livestock to have plenty of space, sun, and fresh air.

Right now we are having some rooster issues and need to make decisions.  But until we get around to that, Ben has been stuck inside and will be for who-knows-how-long.  So Sunshine suggested we try letting him live with the ram: in the back pen during the day, and then in the ram stall at night.  We moved him and he seems very happy.  The ram seems to like having a companion too.  It’s kind of funny – like a “bachelor” pen – ram and rooster.  And at night, the two of them, plus Anya in one stall is kind of funny too.  They each make their own little “nest” and bed down in the hay near each other.  The rooster has the option of sleeping on a roost, but for some reason he prefers to just cuddle down in the bedding.

Unlikely roommates, but everyone seems happy, and I am happy the roo isn’t closed in the small chicken pen all alone.

Sheep

Twilight has reached the age now where she is closed off from Autumn at night for milk-sharing.  That, plus the fact that we are now using an electric milker, have made it so we are getting enough milk from Autumn to start making yogurt.

It has been years since we had sheep’s milk yogurt and we were all very excited to make some.  We did it differently than we used to in several ways.  First, we used a culture powder from New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.  We chose the “Sweet” one.  Secondly, I was borrowing an Instant Pot from a friend, so we used it to make it instead of a pot on the stove and a cooler (more on that below).

It turned out SO good.  So creamy, and just super delicious.  We set aside 2T of the fresh yogurt to use to make the next batch.  You can take 2T out of each batch and use it to culture the next batch for about 8-10 times before you need to use the powder culture again.  I keep it in a small jar in the fridge.

Blizzard and Twilight are both growing like crazy and doing very well.  It is so fun to sit by the barnyard on the warm afternoons and watch them play.  There are SO many adorable pictures I can’t barely narrow it down of what to share with you all.

We have been busy training Daisy and Blue to the stanchions.  Daisy has now earned the name “Lazy Daisy” because she absolutely refuses to jump up on the stanchion, and even once she has been lifted up she lays down.  But we are making progress.

Daisy is the next sheep due, and she is due this week.  She has quite a belly going.  Looking forward to finding out how many are in there.  She will be giving birth to the last lambs ever from our favorite ram, Fergus.  So this is a pretty important birth for us.

Multi-Cooker

My slow cooker stopped functioning properly.  As I was looking to replace it, I remembered that my friend had recently been telling me about multi-cookers and that I should consider getting one.  So I started doing some research on them and found that they are supposed to be able to pressure cook, rice cook, slow cook, and make yogurt.  We have always had a rice cooker and a slow cooker.  I have previously made my yogurt on the stove and fermented it in a pre-heated cooler set in hot water.  And while I have a large pressure canner that I use, I have never pressure cooked anything.  But I had heard that pressure cooking is a great way to cook a tough old hen or rooster – which we have often around here.  So it seemed like the ideal thing to buy to replace what I already had, as well as adding more.  And since my slow cooker just broke, it was a good time to do it.  But I was reluctant because I was a bit skeptical that it could do all those things well.  So my friend let me borrow hers for a few days.

I started with pressure cooking a tough old hen we had in the freezer.  It turned out wonderfully!  The texture was better than most of the other ways I have cooked them before.  Then I put in a pork loin and BBQ sauce and slow cooked it.  Again, great results.  Then I tried the sheep’s milk yogurt, and as I said above it was much less work for me and turned out great.  The next thing I tried was the rice cooker function.  The rice turned out less-soft than we prefer, but it seemed to me that the water/grain ratio was the problem.  They suggested in the directions a 1:1 ratio, and that was just too dry.  So I think the machine would work great for rice cooking once I had the right ratio.  The last thing we made in it was a meatloaf on the slow cooker setting.  Again, wonderful results.

So I guess I will be getting one of these amazing contraptions!

Chickens

Mama hen, Cinnamon, is doing well with her chicks.  It has been kind of an interesting situation that resembles a crazy math problem.  Cinnamon started with 12 eggs, but due to a rooster issue we had at the time only 5 were fertile.  3 hatched, and then we purchased 10 more and gave them to her to raise.  She happily accepted them, but due to shipping stress 5 of the purchased ones died, plus one of her original 3 died as well.  The store gave us 5 more to replace the ones that died since they knew that they were weak when they sold them to us.  Then one of those died.  So now she has 11 chicks that are doing well.  12-8=5-2=3+10=13-6=7+5=12-1=11.  We are used to infant mortality, having a farm means you have to be used to it.  But this has been quite a chick roller-coaster.  Hopefully it is done and the rest will survive.

For some reason this batch of chicks really loves being on their mama hen’s back, which is just adorable.  But mama’s aggressive protectiveness makes it difficult to get good photos.

Homestead Projects

Because we are in the early stages of our dairy sheep breeding program, we are currently keeping more sheep than we usually do so that we can select the best ones for our purposes and sell the others.  Since we have more sheep than we are used to housing, we needed another feeder in the big stall to help spread out the eating and be sure the sheep lower in the pecking order still get enough food.  Mtn Man and Braveheart built it pretty much the same as our last one, just on the other side of the stall.

It turned out great and the sheep were happy to check it out.

Then Anya, since she is part of the flock and might think she is a sheep, had to check it out too.  🙂

Heritage Arts

I finally grew overwhelmed and bored with my two knitting projects on the needles because they are both so big and so far from done.  I desperately needed something new to work on, and something that would give me the satisfaction of finishing something.  Mtn Man had requested a simple ribbed hat made from the yarn he made from Autumn’s 2020 fleece.  So I whipped that up for him in a couple of days.

I felt better, but still needed something new.  So I cast on (and hooked on) two new projects.  One is the Windswept Shawl, by Paulina Popeolic, made with some oh-so-soft and drape-y alpaca yarn Mtn Man made me.

And the second is a crocheted sock scrap yarn afghan.  I love the afghan I made last year from my sock scraps.  But I still have a ton of scrap sock yarn.  I decided to go with a wave crochet pattern for this one.

Work continues on the dress for Little Miss, and the Match Play Poncho as well.  But I definitely needed a little break from them.  The dress is now 418 stitches in one round, and continuing to increase fast, so it takes forever to do one round.  And I have a LONG way to go on it because she wants it calf-length.

I finished the front of the Match Play Poncho, and have just barely started the back.

Milk-Sharing

I am excited to announce that I am now blogging for Mother Earth News.

I am looking forward to this opportunity to share some of what we learn here at Willow Creek Farm through a new platform.  I will also, of course, continue blogging here as usual.

Head on over to Mother Earth News to check out my latest post, Milk-Sharing: Milk a Dairy Animal Without Removing the Baby, where I share how we manage our dairy animals more naturally by leaving the baby with the mother, and still get milk for our own use.

Sunday Homestead Update – Spring Sore

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Spring is here and we have been trying to get what we can done on the nice days sandwiched in between snow storms.  We are all feeling a bit of the “spring soreness” that comes from being more sedentary during the winter and then jumping into all the physical exercise that spring on a farm brings.  It is a good sore, because it means a lot of good hard work is being done – but we are walking a bit stiffer than usual.

Spring Cleaning

Over the winter the barn becomes quite a mess.  It is a combination of things that causes it.  First, the cold weather and snow means the animals are all inside more and thus making more mess.  And secondly, the cold weather and snow means the humans spend less time cleaning, and it is also harder to clean when there is snow all over and all the animals are indoors.

So when we had a nice warm day this week I decided it was time to get to it and give everything a nice deep cleaning.  It took us 4.5 hours, working 2 people at a time (me and a helper – who the helper was changed depending on what we were doing).  We got the ram pen and shed cleaned out.  Then we did the top two small upper chicken pens in the barn.  Then the broody hen coop where Cinnamon hatched chicks this week (more on that below).  Then the grow pen where we have 4 cockerels growing out.  Then we did the large upper coop.  And lastly the two sheep jugs.

Each one of those areas got a complete clean out and re-bedding.  Then I went through the two larger sheep stalls and pulled out all the wet spots, leaving some of the dirty but dry stuff, and added a small amount of new bedding.  Both those stalls needed a full clean-out too, as did the lower coop and pen, but we had run out of shavings.  Later in the week, once we had more shavings, Mtn Man and Young Man gave those two areas a full clean and re-bedding.

It feels SO nice to have the barn so clean and fresh.  I love the smell of fresh pine shavings, and I am sure the animals are all much happier as well.

Chickens

This week Cinnamon was ready to hatch.  She has been in our little broody coop in the upper barn and we have found her to be quite a messy broody hen.  Our other hens that brood for us generally get off their nest each day, poop on the other side of the pen, eat, drink, and then go back to their nest.  This makes it very easy for us to reach in there with a scoop every couple of days to clean out the dried poops and add a little shavings, keeping the little brooding area nice and clean for the mama.  Well, Cinnamon is different.  She stands up, poops in her nest, and lays back down.  This has made for a disgusting mess that stinks like crazy and is nearly impossible to clean out.  It is making me seriously question using her again to brood.

Our spring cleaning day was the day before hatch, so I really bugged her a bunch and tried to get it absolutely as clean as I could and added a bunch of new shavings, hoping for a nice place for the babies to hatch.  The next day, hatching day, Little Miss went to check on her mid-morning and found quite a mess.  She was sitting there with a huge pile of poo next to her, with two of the eggs in the pile, not under her.  When Little Miss told me, I rushed up there with gloves on and some paper towels.  I picked up the eggs and as I was wiping them off I could hear the chicks cheeping and saw they had pipped (made the first hole in the shell).  I was glad Little Miss has seen the trouble so I could get them cleaned off and shoved back under her in the warmth.

She successfully hatched out 3 chicks and the other 2 eggs had died early in the incubation process, so the ones that had been left next to her did hatch despite their time out from the heat.  Because there was such bad fertility on these eggs (5 out of 12), due to the rooster switch-around, we had ordered some chicks we could add to her chicks once she hatched.  We picked them up the next day and gave them to her.

Her reaction was priceless!  She was shocked and looking around wondering where all these babies had come from.  “I was sure there were only three!?  Now there are 1…2…3…STOP MOVING I need to count you!”  It was very funny to watch.  But she gladly accepted the new 10 chicks right along with her original 3.

The chicks, on the other hand, had hatched two days before and never had a mother.  So they had no idea what to do with her and wouldn’t listen to her when she tried to get them to go under her.  Their instincts to eat and drink did kick in almost immediately though, and when she made the special mama “food” noise they all came running to eat with her and then drink.  We knew it was just a matter of time before they figured out that she was warmth too.  There is a heat lamp in the broody coop, so we felt fine leaving them with her and checking occasionally.  By bedtime they had all figured out how great having a mom is, and 11 were underneath her, while 2 were laying on top of her.  It was adorable and a very successful adoption.

I tried to take photos of all the cuteness, but mama hen is very protective and stayed between me and her chicks and wouldn’t allow me to get to them.  She put her hackles up and blocked me at every opportunity.

So this is the only peek at the chicks I have for you…

They will all move to a bigger pen in a few days once we are sure they are eating, drinking, keeping warm under mom, and stable.  Some of the chicks from the store were pretty weak when we got them, so we want to give them a good start in a smaller, warmer area before we move them.

Sheep

Little Twilight is giving us plenty of adorable-ness (not a word…I know) to watch throughout the day.

She got outdoors for the first time and met the flock.  She even met her dad through the wire fence.

She is so cute with the chickens.  She wants to play with them – they are not on board with that plan – hilarious interactions ensue.  I am looking forward to her having more lambs to play with soon.  Anya, our LGD, is doing amazing with her.  She belly crawls over, tail down, head down, totally submissive, to try to convince mama Autumn to let her get a good sniff of baby Twilight.  Autumn has allowed it once, but mostly chases her off.

We let them out for a few hours at a time the first few days so we could be sure everyone was going to get along and that the LGD knew to leave the baby alone.  Autumn was super aggressive with the other sheep early on and we were afraid she could cause a miscarriage in one of them because she kept head butting Daisy and Blue right in the sides really hard.  But after a couple of days of monitored barnyard time everything settled.  So Autumn and Twilight are now living with the flock again.

In addition to the cute lamb, our barnyard also has some very pregnant ladies lounging around it.  Which can be pretty funny to watch too.  Our wool ewe, Fiona, is due this week.

And our Nubian goat, Pansy, is due in two weeks.

We are now milking Autumn, while Milk-Sharing with Twilight.  It has been fun to have raw milk around again.  We still have frozen goat’s milk left from Pansy last year that we have been using, but having the fresh stuff is so much better!  We made a butterscotch cream pie for our Easter meal using the sheep milk – YUM!  This week we will be getting enough to start making yogurt, butter, etc as well as continuing to use it fresh.

There was also quite a bit of progress this week with things garden-related, but this post is long enough as it is, so I will share that next week.

Spring on the farm is oh-so-fun!

Sunday Homestead Update – Heat Wave! (kind of)

It was so beautifully warm this week!  After the snow early in the week it got sunny and each day was in the 50sF, which felt so wonderful in the middle of cold winter.  We took advantage of it and spent time outdoors soaking in fresh air and sunshine and getting things done.  It is awesome to be able to get some of our spring projects worked on, even though winter is far from done here in the high Rockies.

Salve

Monday, while the snow flew, the girls and I used the inside time to make a batch of salve.  Making your own herbal salve is so easy.  You just infuse olive oil with the herbs you want.

Strain it out.  Add beeswax to get the consistency you want (put a little on a plate in the freezer for a minute or two until it reaches room temp to test the consistency).

Then pour it up and let it cool.

We made 12 small tins (1.5 oz), 1 pint jar (for the barn), and 3 half-pint jars.

I did a post on making herbal salve here.

New Garden Compost/Barnyard Fence

With the warmer weather we were able to borrow a tractor/back-hoe and get the compost pile moved into the new garden boxes.  We were happy to see how far it went in filling in the boxes.  And now we know how much top soil we need to purchase to finish off filling the boxes.

This also made it so we could finish the permanent fencing on the bottom end of the barnyard, and thus gave the animals a larger barnyard again (they have been living in about 2/3 of the main barnyard since fall because we had fenced off the bottom part with the big compost heap to just let the compost sit for a few months without chickens “stirring” it).  We also used the tractor to scrape the barnyard thoroughly and thus make a new compost heap to start composting.

Here is the lower barnyard looking down from uphill before:

And here it is after:

And here it is looking up from downhill before:

And after:

So the entire permanent barnyard fence is complete except one thing – a gate at the bottom.  We want to have a large gate at the bottom so we can easily get the tractor in and out.  We didn’t have time or materials to complete that, so we just put one of our temporary panels across the bottom.  It feels so good to be so close to finally done with the permanent barnyard fence.  It has been a project that has dragged on for years now as we have waiting for the time and materials to complete it a little here and there.  We have been very grateful for the panels to use as temporary fencing while we built it.

In the winter the hay ends up covering the snow as the animals eat and it insulates the snow in one main spot in the barnyard by the feeders and in the shade.  This ends up to be about 2 feet of hard-packed ice/snow under the hay by the spring, which then slowly melts causing a deep mucky mess that can lead to leg injuries in the animals.  When Mtn Man scraped he worked hard to get a bunch of that out so we will hopefully not have such a bad mess.  Granted, we still have a lot of snow fall likely headed our way this winter before spring hits.  But any removal of it is good progress.  And the snow in the new compost heap that he scraped together will help add moisture and nitrogen to the heap, both good things.  The chickens enjoyed pecking at the snow he exposed when he scraped it away.

Sheep

We have sheared a couple more sheep.  I will post more about them specifically later this week.  The big news is that Sunshine decided she wanted to learn how to shear, so Mtn Man is teaching her and she has now sheared 2 sheep with his help.  I am so proud of her – shearing is a hard skill to learn and very physically taxing.

Sewing Clothing and Making a Cake

Little Miss and I have been sewing some clothing for her because she doesn’t fit well in store-bought, nor does any of it match her preferences of style.  We finished a nightgown, a dress, and a skirt last week, and have more to sew this week.

We also celebrated her birthday recently.  She desperately wanted me to make a cake that had her goat, Pansy, on it.  I love how my kids challenge me with their cakes each year to try to make harder and harder things.  I was skeptical about my abilities to do the goat cake, but was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.

 

Lambing/Kidding Supplies Kit

It is that time of year again – time to prepare for lambing and kidding!  I keep a kit of all the things we need to have on hand for lambing and kidding in a big lidded plastic bin.  We are 1 hour away from the closest large-animal vet, so we are careful to have anything and everything we need to deal with an emergency ready and on hand.  Our vet is great about talking me through things on the phone and telling me doses of meds when he can’t get here in time.  But if I don’t have the items and meds needed to do what he says, there is no point.  He helps us come up with a list of meds and supplies to have on hand.

The lambing kit needs to be cleaned out and inventoried each year so we are sure that we have what we need.  Last year Rose had a very dangerous birth, with twins that were both mal-positioned.  Thankfully we were able to get them safely delivered and everyone survived.  But somehow in the chaos the kit was torn all apart and then shoved back together and in the busy-ness of last summer I never got it cleaned from that.  So when I pulled it out of the barn loft this year it was a pretty gross mess.  The betadine had spilled and everything needed cleaning.  Thankfully, most of the supplies are in zip-lock plastic bags, which protected them from a lot of it.  But the bags needed replacing.

I got it cleaned and inventoried, and Mtn Man made a trip to the vet supply store to stock back up on what we needed.

I think each homesteader’s lambing/kidding/vet meds kit will look a little bit different based on their situation, but many things are probably in everyone’s kit.  Our kit is put together with our specific situation in mind, and it changes a little each year as we have more experiences and learn more.

As I said above, most items are in ziploc bags after I have cleaned the item.  And we put everything together into a big plastic tub with a lid.  We are not keeping it in the barn because we are still getting below freezing some nights.  The mud room doesn’t freeze, but is easy access to grab the kit and take it to the barn.

We are over an hour away from the closest large-animal vet, we are also over an hour away from a vet supply or ranch store that would have what we might need to buy last-minute.  So this kit is intended to cover all our bases.

photo 1 (2)

Old Towels & Paper Towels

It is pretty obvious what these are for.  Drying off the lamb/kid, clearing the mucous from the nostrils, drying and wiping hands, etc.

Lamb/Kid Pulling Ropes

In case we need to re-position or pull a lamb.

Sheep Book

Our favorite sheep book is Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep.  It has good, detailed information about lambing and different problems that might arise.  We want to have this book in reach for reference if a tough situation comes up.

Scissors

For trimming the navel if necessary, along with many other potential uses.

Notebook & Pen

For jotting things down as the process goes along.  Especially the time that different things occurred.  If there are problems, it is important to know how long the ewe/doe has been in labor and how long she has had issues.  Knowing this helps one make better decisions about intervention, and when I call the vet, he always wants to know times.

Flashlight and Headlamp with New Batteries

Barns are dark…enough said.  🙂

Navel Dip Cup

This can be any type of small containers.  They are available to buy, or you can use a baby food jar, a shot glass, etc.

Betadine Solution

For navel dipping and for cleaning our hands and the ewe/doe if we need to help re-position a lamb/kid.

Latex gloves, OB gloves, and OB Lubricant

In case we need to re-position or pull a lamb/kid.

Nutri-Drench

To help nutritionally boost a weak lamb.

Lamb Milk Replacer & Colostrum Supplement, Nipples and Bottles

In case we have a rejected or orphaned lamb that needs to be bottle fed.  Or if we have a ewe that doesn’t make enough milk for her lambs.  We try to milk out a little colostrum each year and freeze a few ice cubes of it.  Then we have it on hand if needed.  It doesn’t keep well past 1 year in the freezer.

Lamb/kid Stomach Tube

We are reluctant to use this and will only use it if it is absolutely necessary to save a lamb/kid’s life.  I have successfully tubed a horse and a cow before, but it is dangerous and we would like to avoid it at all costs if possible.  We decided to have it on hand just in case.

Syringes of different sizes

These have multiple uses, including force feeding a lamb/kid that can’t suck, and giving injections.

Elastrator & Bands

photo 5 (4)

We use the Elastrator for tail docking and castrating.  Tail docking happens the 2nd or 3rd day of life, and castration around the 10th day of life.  As suggested in the Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep, we are storing our bands in a shallow jar of rubbing alcohol.  This keeps them clean and sanitized, and we can dip the Elastrator tool in it right before use to sanitize it.

Bulb Syringe

We added in one that we had from when our kids were infants.  It is very helpful for sucking gunk out of noses and throats if the lamb/kid is having trouble breathing or inhaled some fluids.

That is everything in our lambing/kidding kit.

Because we live so far away from a large animal vet, we have a very thorough vet kit as well.  A few items in the vet kit that might be necessary for lambing/kidding and afterwards are:

Syringes & Needles

For giving injections

Penicillin & Tetracyclene (antibiotics)

If we have to go into the uterus for any reason we will be giving the ewe/doe a shot of penicillin afterwards to prevent infection.

Oxytocin

Used for several different reasons, after all the babies are out to help the ewe/doe.

Ketone Strips

Ewes can suffer from pregnancy toxemia in the weeks before birth or right after birth.  It has to do with a ewe not having high enough calorie intake.  It is most common with twins and triplets because the lambs are taking so much nutrition and so much space that she can’t ingest enough feed to keep up with their needs.  Ketone dip strips are how this is diagnosed.

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Propylene Glycol

This is what we would use to treat a ewe found to have pregnancy toxemia.

CMPK

Medication needed to treat milk fever.

 

Some of these items might be over-kill for a homesteader with a vet and vet-supply store close by, especially because they expire and thus might not be used and just have to be thrown away and replaced again.  But for us, isolated from those things, we want to have all our bases covered in case of an emergency.