Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yoda grows up

We would like to introduce Yoda. He is a North Country Cheviot/Hampshire cross ram that was born on this farm May 15th, 2011. Yoda was one of a set of twins along with his sister "Little Girl" and is the son of Winston, our purebred Hampshire ram and Rough, our purebred North Country Cheviot. (btw - this shot is courtesy of Sandra Croft)

Yoda was a last ditch effort to save some of Winston's genetics. Winston had a respiratory problem last winter that was really resistant to treatment and despite all our efforts we lost him in the middle of January. Necropsy results showed that he had a massive lung abcess that was resistant to all the antibiotic treatment because it effectively was sealed off. Fortunately it was not communicable but unfortunately it occurred right at breeding season. Winston was able to breed one ewe before he died, Rough. We despirately waited to see what she would have and thankfully she had a stunning ram lamb who weighed 16 lbs at birth.

Rough and her two daughters have routinely produced wonderful lambs that grow rapidly and dress out well. The stats from the mother's side and superb stats from the sire's side were enough for us to decide to keep Yoda as a terminal sire replacement... at least for a few years.

Yoda has continued to thrive, tipping the scale at 70 lbs at 50 days of age with an average daily gain of over a pound a day. Gotta love those genetics.

Why Yoda...first it is a 'Y' year for registrations of purebreds. No Yoda is not purebred but we use the same numbering for all our flock regardless if they are pure or not; second, with those ears could it be anything other than Yoda.

Keep posted in the future for Yoda babies... probably not next year but the year following.


Friday, July 8, 2011

New Hawks at Hawk Hill

When we first moved to this farm we took some time to decide on at name for the farm. However several walks to the back of the farm gave us the obvious name for the farm.

First we live on a hill and in this area there are not too many of them. From the very top of our hill we can see the hills of Quebec to the north and those of New York to the south. We really are wedged into that top eastern corner of Ontario.

Second, there was at least one pair of red tailed hawks nesting on our property; one at the top of the hill and one in the woodlot partway down to the back. Over the years those birds have moved on but we have had marsh hawks, sharp shinned hawks and others for the summer.

This year we saw a Kestrel for the first time in years... and she has taken up residence at th
e end of our barn, nesting in a pocket between the ceiling of the stable and the floor of the hay loft. We have 4 very determined chicks staring at us out of the hole between the boards.

We used to have starlings nesting in the same area but I think they became "Take out".

We have deer in the backyard, turkeys in the pasture and the occasional skunk chowing down on the cat food in the garage.

Check out the babes and their next door neighbours, a nest crammed with barn swallows.

As an aside we just took our 50 day weights on our lambs. They ranged from 32 lbs for a ewe lamb in a set of triplets to a 70 lb ram lamb (one of a set of twins). Our daily average gain is 0.83 lbs.