Josey Ranch Pet Hospital, PC

March 22, 2009

Another New Lamb

Filed under: The Sheep — Kirk @ 1:57 pm
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Fuzzy's new ewe lambI was happy to find that Fuzzy had her lamb on her own this morning.  I got up at 5 am to check on her and she was fine with no signs of delivery soon.  We slept in and were awakened by my mother in law calling saying there was a new baby in the paddock!

She had had the lamb probably an hour earlier but the lamb was cold, not very cleaned up and not standing yet.  I brought her up, cleaned her up with warm water cloths and used a blow dryer on her for a while.  She gained her strength quickly and I was able to get her to nurse well.  Now, she is out there walking around with her dam and finding the milk supply on her own.

202-lambs-march-22-2008-0271So I just have one more to go and the lambing is done for this year.  I really enjoy the deliveries, the surprise of what they will have but just wish I did not have to help them so much in the process.

Now I get to watch them grow and determine who will become show lambs and which ones I will retain for future breedings.  I’ll keep you posted on the last one.

Lambs are Here !!

Filed under: The Sheep — Kirk @ 1:49 pm
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Vera and twinsWell, it has been a busy, long, sometime sleepless, worrisome last 3 weeks for me. So far, 9 of the 11 ewes have lambed. I spent many an hour checking and then assisting with deliveries this year. Of the 9 deliveries, I have had to assist on 5 of them.

I was fortunate to be here for all the difficult deliveries. Ewes can have 1-3 lambs, but twins seem to be most common. We have 5 sets of twins and 2 singles. When lambs are delivered, they are presented with their forelimbs sticking out in front of them with their head stretched forward and their chin resting on the legs.

Well, I had 5 situations, all different, where this was not what I was presented with. One was trying to deliver 2 at once so they were stuck and not progressing, another had a large breach presentation, another was a very large lamb present upside down and the last were twins each presented differently.

I was able to save all but the worst; the breach and the upside down giant lamb. I was lucky to have saved the ewes and have to accept loss as being natural.

The lambs are doing very well and it is amazing how rapidly they grow. The oldest are 3 weeks old and comparing them to their birth size is almost unbelievable.

They are very fun to watch and very active, social babies. They love to play follow the leader, use their dams as trampolines, head butt and sleep. I enjoy the newborns, assisting in the deliveries ( but would prefer they do it themselves) and then watching them just grow and observing their behavior.

I have always been intrigued by animals’ social behavior. The twins are much more active, social, interactive and demanding of their ewes than the single lambs are. Singes are quieter, more loner types, often off sleeping while the rest play and less bothersome to their dams.

These mothers seem to understand the lambs are content and they will often leave them asleep by themselves somewhere. The mothers to the twins are more nervous, alert and (probably like people with small twins) more fretful and concerned about their lambs.

Dixie's twinsMaternal instincts are fascinating as well. Each one has distinct personalities and mothering styles. I find it very entertaining and enlightening while others may just feel I spend too much time with the sheep!!

Anyway, I will try to attach a photo album to this entry that will contain numerous new photos. I will keep you posted on the last 2 to lamb. Thanks for reading.

March 8, 2009

How It All Began

Filed under: The Sheep — Kirk @ 12:49 am
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My "Starter Flock"
My “Starter Flock”

Hello everyone!  I am sorry it has taken my so long to add to this blog.  My intentions were good but my follow through was poor.  I was raised near Beaumont, Texas and was in 4-H as a child.  I started raising and exhibiting various breed of chickens and this led to raising registered Nubian goats and showing market show steer and hogs.  I always loved large animals and originally wanted to be a mixed animal practitioner.  Once we started doing surgery in veterinary school, I realized my options were greater with dogs and cats.  I had always hoped to one day have livestock again and we found this property in Bartonville and now was the time to do so!!  With only 4 acres, I could maybe have 2 cows or could have more sheep or goats.  With the sheep, I can have lots of lambs and support the 4-H and FFA programs that I learned so much from as a child.  I decided that I would have sheep.  Well, I have had to learn a great deal about them and do all the medicine / surgery on them myself.  There is a saying in vet school about the 4 S’s.  Sick sheep seldom survive !!  Well this saying is true!  I have encountered numerous problems in the last 5 years and read alot, read list serves on the internet and speak with TAMU clinicians regarding their various problems.  I have learned a great deal and feel that I am back to what I loved so much when I was young.  4-H and the livestock taught me so much and gave me so much joy.  Now is my time to return this knowledge and enlightenment to other students as well.

I started with purchasing 4 sheep from a local breeder.  These were my “starter” flock.  Poor quality and inexpensive but good to start and learn from.  I have since been able to purchase some very nice quality sheep from one of the top breeders in the states and have become friends with one of my pharmaceutical representatives who also raises and sells show lambs.  We have purchased better and better quality sheep and have had some success with our show lambs.  The lamb crop that we are now delivering looks to be our best yet!  I started with a ram and 3 ewes but now have 13 ewes and lots of lambs on the ground already with more to come.  I will probably only be able to keep 10-13 ewes total because I have limited space here.  He currently has about 30 ewes so we will have lots of lambs to sell later in the spring. 

I wanted to share this experience with anyone interested and hope to post photos from start to finish to share what we do with the sheep.  I promise I will write again very soon!!

October 23, 2007

Spring Brings Petunias . . . and a Chicken

Filed under: The Fowl,The Pig — Kirk @ 10:32 pm
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Best FriendsWell the goats have had the ranch all to themselves the last few months.  They have really grown and are enjoying the early Spring weather.  We were surprised with a baby pot bellied pig . . . Petunia.  She was already a few months old, weighed about 30 pounds and was very strong and wild.  She never really enjoyed being handled and was difficult to try to hold or socialize.  Petunia is now a big, lazy but funny pig.  When she arrived, the goats did not care for her and she was basically a loner until Cha Cha came along. 

One Saturday while on the way home from work, a student volunteer called me and stated that she had found a chicken in her yard.  I suggested she find someone around her that had chickens and try to return it.  She assured me that no one is her neighborhood had chickens and said she thought it fell off a chicken truck.  (I thought for a moment that maybe she had fallen off a chicken truck!)  But surprisingly, there was an accident and hundreds of chickens were loose and this one got away.  Well, he came home aPetuniand suddenly he and the pig are best friends.  Where ever they were, they were together as a team.  Cha Cha ended up weighing 18 pounds and was the biggest chicken I had ever seen.  Due to his size, he was not a very agile bird and will certainly have skeletal problems as he gets older.  One day he attacked my mothers leg as she was holding a baby duck.  Needless to say, she was nothappy with the chicken.  So, Cha Cha was sent to live with a client of mine on his farm with many other chickens.  Last I heard, he was running with ducks and guineas and was doing well.  He is hopefully a happy rooster now, and I am happy he is gone!  Now, Petunia is living with the sheep and goats and doing well.  She loves food . . . any food . . . and just being lazy! 

October 19, 2007

A June Bug Arrives

Filed under: The Goats — Kirk @ 11:51 pm
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June BugElvis was born in October and lived by himself until I received a phone call in December.  The homes previous owners had a new baby goat and asked if we wanted her.  Their daughter had named her June Bug and she was 6 days old.  We picked her up a few days later and I took her to get disbudded (dehorned).  She also had to learn to take a bottle.  Well, the first day was difficult as she was not use to the nipple or to me.  But her becoming hungry helped my efforts.  She began to nurse better and by the next day she was well on her way!  Despite being bottle raised, June Bug tends to be stand offish.  She will usually come up to you and is very calm and enjoys the attention.  She and Elvis played well together but he was and still is the bully of the property.  Maybe she just stays back and allows Elvis to be king! He was older when his disbudding took place and it did not work and he completely grew his horns in.  Because of this, he is more of a problem when it comes to his head butting the other animals.  I believe he feels that ‘I was here first and this is my turf!’  He is very  mischievous and always tries to get away with something.  Generally, all the animals get along well.  But because he can be bossy, I do not allow him with the ewes as they advance in their pregnancy or when lambs are with them.  After weaning the lambs in May; the goats, pig and sheep are all pastured together until late December.   The pregnant ewes are then separated and management changes start for me to get everyone ready for lambing season.Trystan and the goatsGetting her evening lap time as a baby.

October 17, 2007

Elvis is Alive and Well!

Filed under: The Goats — Tags: , — Kirk @ 11:34 pm
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Elvis at 10 days of age.We moved from Flower Mound to Bartonville in late 2004. When we first found this property, the previous owners had a young, small baby Nigerian Dwarf goat. We joking told them we would buy the house but they would have to throw in the baby goat . . . and they did!! Elvis was only two weeks old and was quite wild already. The owners moved out about 5 weeks later and we were still living in our last home. So, we came over everyday to play with him, I took him to work or we had him in the garage until we moved. During the day, he stayed in a cage at work, he walked on a leash and ran around the hospital. He became very sweet and personable and loved to climb on you, eat peppermints and play with his soccer ball.Jimmy and Elvis If anyone is in the pasture with him, he is either chewing on your clothes or just being annoying at your side. He believes this property belongs to him and he has bullied his way to be the boss of all the livestock here.

This is my first entry onto my blog so check back later for updates!! Managing this page was fairly easy but I need to learn a lot more. Be patient and thanks for reading.