Surprise!

I spent the last two days on a secret mission. See my sister Carrie has been wanting me to start a colored flock of sheep and goats for years. About once a month, she calls me on the phone and says, “So when are we getting colored sheep?” And my answer is always, “Um… I’m a little busy right now. Maybe next year.”

Carrie has been working really, really hard lately. I don’t really understand what she does, but she’s wicked good at it and it requires her to travel all over Europe for weeks at a time. (She butt dialed me from Krakow the other day at 4:30 a.m.!) Carrie has been exhausted and homesick lately and I wanted to do a little something to cheer her up.

So I left the farm yesterday to drive to Pennsylvania to pick up the first three members of our new colored flock, a bottle baby Angora goat doe kid and a set of bottle baby Border Leicester twin, a boy and a girl. The naming convention for the colored flock is going to be Constellations.This is Ursa Minor, the Angora goat doe. She’s a beauty!

This is the ram lamb. His name is Orion.

This is the ewe lamb. Carrie gets to name her and the other three lambs that are being mama-raised and coming to the farm the first week in May.

Coincidentally, Capri, one of our ewes, aborted her lamb yesterday while I was on the road. She has been looking for her lamb ever since, so we are attempting to graft Orion and his sister onto Capri. Then they will have a mama, she will have lambs and I won’t have to spend my retirement fund on milk replacer.

The methods for grafting a lamb to a ewe are simple but they take patience. First, we want the lambs to smell like mama, so we rubbed some of her milk on their heads last night. Capri was still a bit skeptical, so this morning we used the old farmers trick of spraying perfume on the lambs’s head and spraying the same scent on Mama’s nose. This seems to be working better.

Next, we held Mama and let the lambs nurse from her. It went remarkably well, although we did have to hold Capri tight to get her to submit to it. This is the part that takes patience. We’ll probably have to hold her and get them going for a few more days before we know if this going to work. Keep your fingers crossed.

Carrie hasn’t decided what she’s going to do with her colored flock. We may do a small, colored CSA or she may want to have it spun into yarn. She is coming next week for a visit and I can’t wait for her to meet her new flock.

24 Comments

  1. Yay YAY YAYYYYY! I love the black lambies! And Ursa minor is sooo beautiful. Carrie will be soo excited to meet them.

    We are enjoying the lamby squeals and the talking mommas today on the lambcam. Thank you so much for having the lambcam up for us to live on in you barn vicariously.

  2. They are gorgeous!

    Happy Super Belated Birthday, Carrie!!

    I’m so glad that she’s getting to visit you. I know that will be a treat for both of you!

  3. fingers crossed!

  4. So pretty! I can’t wait to meet them. Can I be your sister, too? ;)

  5. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! FIRST IN LINE FOR COLORED FLEECE CSA!!! well, ok I guess Carrie gets to decide… sheesh….. looks down “sheepishly” and knocks toe on dirt with hands clasped nicely behind back…..

    I am SOOO excited for you guys they are cute cute cute and this absolutely fixes it – gonna figure out how to get a winnebago….. Or an old-fashioned milk truck where you DRIVE STANDING UP!!!!

  6. Malteseparakeet

    April 9, 2011 at 11:42 am

    LOVE!!!!!

  7. fantastic!
    Is it “odd” or something to have black colored lambs? Pls excuse me if that’s an ignorant question…
    They’re SO beautiful.
    I hope mama will adopt them too.
    Lords love!
    Rona

  8. Susan (sjanova)

    April 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    They’re beautiful. It will be so lovely to watch them grow up and meld into a little herd.

  9. They are soooooooo cute.

  10. Im off to my spinning demo in a nearby town. Thought Id check email n such first-always click on this page before logging off. Now I am totally in the mood for fiber immersion after the adorable pics and story of momma needing babies. Im so glad you post all this stuff-love getting my farm fix here!

  11. THIS is so FUN! Black babies will look awesome on my white pots. :) Yippee for Carrie. You are a great sister Susie!

  12. sue (Olliepup)

    April 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    They are so cute! Can’t wait for more pictures.

  13. Hi Susan,

    I’ve been raising colored Corriedale sheep for 28 years now (both variegated gray and some as dark as your new lambs). Pleased to see you joining the black sheep community. They look like healthy lambs with lovely color. Too bad I am on the other side of the country because I have some lovely lambs and am getting fleeces almost (but not quite) as fine as your ewe ladies produce, so they would be great additions to Carrie’s new flock. Hmmmm, based on the excited response on the comments, maybe I’ll have to bite the bullet and follow your creative lead and get a farm CSA going. Are you still doing the farm advising? I am all thumbs when to comes to technology any more complicated than my spinning wheel…..

  14. Leslie from California

    April 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    so how cool is that? I love the idea of the colored flock, there is someone who raises cotton in different shades and has it spun into yarn, read about it in Vogue years and years ago… I know some raise alpaca the same way, for the natural color of fleece. I actually have some natural alpaca/sheepdog yarn, two cones of it in a lovely lace weigh I bid on and won at a raffle several years ago, darn, I need to knit that up.

    love the naming convention too, exciting things going on at the farm these days…

  15. B. from Maine

    April 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Those little ones are adorable……so sorry about the aborted baby. :-(

  16. roseknits24-7

    April 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    They’re waytoocute! Congrats!:-)

  17. Utterly adorable.

  18. Jen aka Jellenp

    April 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    You’re like some kind of magician – but instead of pulling rabbits from your hat, out comes this stream of multi-colored lambs, yarn bowls, fund raisers and wonderful friends!!!

  19. Holy cow, those little ones are SO adorable! I didn’t think lambs could get cuter than the ones you have already, but those little black faces take the cake!

  20. Soooooo sweet!

  21. Wow, they are too cute. That Orion looks like he has the potential to be a little stinker. Hope Capri decides to say yes to life and mother the little guys–good luck. We just got brand new chicks yesterday–Wellsummers. They’re our first ones, so there’s no broody hen to take them on–they’re in a box in the garage w/a heat lamp. Wish us luck!

  22. Am I the only one who washpoing to see pink, purple and blue when you said a colored flock????? Love the latest additions and hope the “adpotion” process goes well

  23. poor Ms. Capri, hope she takes to the new babies to heal her heart.

  24. Oh My Goodness! Black sheep/goat yarn – now you are truly on a par with Scotland. Your new yarn will rival that of the chocolate brown sheep on Scalpay!
    And they are soo darned cute!

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