The first of the spring chicks are here! There are 153 Cornish Cross chicks and 10 Reich’s Golden Reds layer pullets in the brooder.
I called the post office a little after 6 this morning, and confirmed that our chicks were there. The chicks must have been creating a lot of noise because the lady that answered the phone didn’t need to go check, she knew!
After Mom and Anna brought them home, Anna carefully transferred them from their shipping box into the brooder. She told me these chicks are very lively and healthy looking. Yay! (And why aren’t I out there seeing for myself? Half our family, including myself, is down with the flu.😕)
At this age, the chicks don’t need much fussing over. In fact, too much fussing over them is stressful, and stress is amazingly detrimental to baby chicks. They just need a warm, dry place with plenty of food, water, and grit.
It’s now officially spring in my mind. There are chicks in the brooder.
One year ago yesterday, I brought my first sheep home to the farm.
It was the day before Easter, and Anna, Laura, and I took off early that morning in the mini-van-turned-sheep-hauler. Of course, sheep were the topic of discussion on the drive. I kept coming up with reasons why this was a bad idea, and Anna kept telling me these sheep were the perfect fit.
At the farm, we entered a small shed, and there they were: a lovely white yearling Katahdin ewe and her three day old twins and an eight week old chocolate colored ewe lamb. It didn’t take me long to say I’d take them.
The ride home was pretty uneventful; we only took one wrong exit. If you get stuck in holiday traffic (because you took the wrong exit) with two sheep looking out your van’s back windows, you are going to create a bit of a stir. Bored, sleepy looking children suddenly come alive, bouncing, pointing, and shouting. Teenagers whip out cell phones and take pictures, and some people just look at you like you’ve lost your mind.
My little flock settled right in to their new home. I had been worried that the stress of traveling would be too much for the newborn lambs, but they took it in stride.
It took me over a week to pick out the girls’ names. I knew the yearling ewe was going to be the matriarch of my future flock, and I wanted a name that would fit that position. I finally decided on Olga. Good Old Olga. The chocolate ewe lamb I named Sabine, and Olga’s ewe lamb I called Estella.
Now, one year later, I admit Anna was right: these sheep are the perfect fit. They are wonderful!
Olga is my steady sage of a ewe. Most of the time she is dignified and queen like. Occasionally she forgets herself and leads the younger ewes on a wild charge across the pastures, her tail flying wildly behind her.
Olga will walk up to the fence to see me, allow me to pet her a few times, but then steps back; royalty must keep its distance from the commoners.
Sabine is more easy going than Olga, but still has that lovely sheep dignity about her.
Sabine has been wary of me from the start, but over this winter, I’ve won her approval. It never ceases to thrill me when I’m able to win an animal’s trust.
And then there is Estella. Estella grew up here on the farm hanging out and goofing off with the baby goats. Now, she acts like a goat. She is demanding like a goat. She is quirky like a goat. She possesses none of her mother’s dignity, whatsoever! And I love it! She’s the perfect sprinkle of humor in the act!
All three of them are due to lamb starting in mid-May. I know Olga is a good mother, and I really think Sabine will be, also. But Estella…oh help!
I have one year of being a shepherdess under my belt. I’m highly anticipating year two.