kadence blevins

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since Dec 01, 2012
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Recent posts by kadence blevins

Ok I think that brings everything up to speed. The next stage of things is... A canvas tent! I ordered a Sibley bell tent from canvascamp.com and a frontier camp stove. The stove came Monday and the tent came Tuesday. I unpacked the stove and set it up, played around for a bit. I really think it will work great. It's already nice out so I think I'll have it and a little fire pit set up in front of the tent. I won't be terribly far from the house but I want to do some of my own cooking.

The tent came in while I was out doing sheep feed run. Third time I've left the farm since all the panic, two months, yay. Nothing exciting it was just nice to be in the car and about for a while. I'm knocked. It's raining, been raining, and chance of rain the next few days. I'm making plans for the small retaining wall and filling in an area where the tent will be setup at. It's a spot kind of midway in the field. Nothing here is flat of course! Ha! I'll need to make a spot in the other field as well but I'll have some time grazing the first one to get that set up. I have some old metal roofing I'm hoping will work. There is an amish family with a sawmill down the road. Enormous pile of sawdust. Thinking to fill it in with sawdust. Not sure if I should mix it with anything. I'm sure I'll have to top it off next year. Depending on how things go I was thinking of how to make a platform where I could have something like two half circles.. and be able to bolt them together.. Then in the area I'll have it set up I could have posts put in. That way I could pack up the tent, unbolt the platform, move to the next grazing place, setup the platform on the posts, setup the tent on the platform. I'm not sure how that would work exactly, just a thought for the future.

I've been thinking over the bed situation. I've always wanted to make my own mattress. I'm pretty crafty. I had a place saved (homeofwool) that I thought to save up and buy a wool mattress. However having just invested in the tent and stove.. And having other things I need to be putting money to.. I priced out and did some searching to make my own mattress. For cotton ticking, yes ye o' fashion blue striped ticking, it'll be about $70. And from the website list of sizes and weights I estimated 40# of scoured wool to stuff it, $255. A big long tufting needle is like $6. I think some of the heavy cotton I have will work to do it. Then I just need to figure which side to put the zipper ($?) and I'll come in at around $350 for a double bed. Wool mattresses do best on a slat frame, being able to breath. I want to get some wood tools anyhow and I've access to wood so that'll be ok too.
4 hours ago
Thursday I sold the two shetland rams and he ended up buying the shetland ewe lamb too. Guy I've sold sheep to before.
Have someone coming Sunday to look at Bingley, my home bred cross ram. Then this evening someone else emailed about em so they are in line if this person doesn't buy him. I let them know I have several ram lambs available, we'll see.

Ended up with 5 ram lambs left. At least two I'll keep and have butchered in the fall, for myself and to sell cuts to people I know. With smaller non-commercial sheep it's more costly to get it done but if I take them in then I can sell labeled cuts. We shall see how that turns out.

I'm working on typing up another post on what my next steps are right now and this year. Big plans, cross your fingers haha. Everything plays into each other so I want to get it in one post and check it over. So there'll be more detailed stuff coming soon!
2 days ago
Fertility and internal parasites are my next big crack down on goals for the sheep. I'll go into parasites after this because it leads into the other big thing I'm doing.
I put 19 ewes in to breed, ended with 3 sets of twins, 12 singles, 3 not bred. Two of the three not bred were put in the late breeding group and are the ones due in nine days. I'm hoping for twins from them!!!
So I am not happy with the fertility of the ewes this year. I've kept 8 of the ewes and sold the others to a non breeding home. (Sorry I don't recall if I said that already). I don't know if anyone cares but here is the full round up of the sheep that will be staying...

Midget- One of the foundation sheep I first bought, a mutt from a spinners flock. 5y/o. Lambing history single, twin, twin, single. Most recent weight 90#.

99- The only full shetland ewe I kept. Only because her lamb is so great and I like her fleece. Appx 6y/o. Lambing history single, single. Most recent weight 61#

Ayreshire- Born here. 1/2 finn-katahdin-romanov, 1/4 shetland, 1/4 cormo. Her mom was a cross of the three in unknown amounts. 2y/o. Lambing history single, single. Most recent weight 97#.

Mary- Born here. 1/2 mutt (spinners flock), 1/4 shetland, 1/4 cormo. Her mom was Pigpig. 2y/o. Lambing history single, and due soon! Most recent weight 93#.

Kitty- Born here. 5/8 shetland, 1/4 mutt, 1/8 cormo.  Twin of Lydia. Pigpig was grandma. 2y/o. Lambing history single, single. Most recent weight 60#.

Lydia- Born here. 5/8 shetland, 1/4 mutt, 1/8 cormo.  Twin of Kitty. Pigpig was grandma. 2y/o. Lambing history single, single. Most recent weight 55#.

184- 1/2 border cheviot, 3/8 shetland, 1/8 cormo. 2y/o. Lambing history single, and due soon! Most recent weight 74#.

185- 1/2 border cheviot, 1/2 shetland. 2 y/o. Mom of 73, the ram lamb I'm keeping back. Lambing history single, single. Most recent weight 62#.

007- Ram. 1/2 shetland, 1/2 mini cheviot. 1 y/o. Need to get weight on him but at four month old he weighed 40.5#. Sire to all the part mini cheviot lambs. The lambs are all 30-40# at 70 days so even better than he was.

Next is all this years lambs that are staying. I have added up based on their ADG and time til fall breeding groups.. They all have the possibility of being as big as their moms by fall! We shall see how they actually turn out, but I'm hoping.

72- Ewe lamb. 5/8 shetland, 1/4 mini cheviot, 1/8 mutt.

73- Ram lamb. 3/8 shetland, 1/4 mutt, 1/4 border cheviot, 1/8 cormo. Mom is 185.

74- Ewe lamb. 7/16 shetland, 3/8 mutt, 3/16 cormo. Mom is Kitty.

75- Ewe lamb. 3/4 mutt, 1/8 shetland, 1/8 cormo. Mom was Pigpig. Only staying because I really wanted to give her a chance so I can have more of pigpigs genetics, I'd like to have her color pattern in the flock.

79- Ewe lamb. 3/4 shetland, 1/4 mini cheviot. Mom is 99. I'm really happy with this lamb and if I can get this improvement in body type with a 1/4 cheviot it makes me really excited to see what future breeding will bring.

80- Ewe lamb. 3/4 shetland, 1/4 mini cheviot. Again, makes me really excited for future breedings.

84- Ewe lamb. 1/2 mutt, 1/4 shetland, 1/4 mini cheviot. Mom is Midget. I'm not sure how her fleece is going to turn out, I think she has 'awkward teen growin into it' fleece and next year will really show if she's going to be more
dual coated like her mom or more medium wool. I know Midget makes good growing lambs so I have high hopes for this one.

87- Ram lamb. 1/2 market cross, 1/4 mutt, 1/8 shetland, 1/8 cormo.

Ben- border leicester ram lamb. To be picked up in about three weeks.

mini cheviot- ram lamb hopefully going to be buying from my friend in the fall, to replace 007 after breeding groups.
6 days ago
Lamb progress. This will be listed as: tag number- birth weight- 30 day weight (ADG)- 70 day weight (ADG). ADG is average daily gain. All in pounds. The * before it means was a bottle lamb.
70- 8.6- 23.8 (.434)- 41.4 (.462)
71- 7.5- 25.7 (.52)- 38.5 (.437)
72- 8.2- 20.1 (.34)- 30.6 (.315)
73- 7- 23.7 (.491)- 39.8 (.469)
74- 8- 20.9 (.39)- 35.8 (.403)
*75- 6.5- 16.6 (.306)- 25.5 (.275)
*76- 6.7- 9.... This is the idiot that would not take the bottle. Neighbor took her for free as a pet for the kids along the other sheep. Haven't heard if she's still going or not. I was mad because she was a color I would have wanted and from a ewe I wanted lambs from but just totally stupid lamb.
*77- 5.7- 13.8 (.245)- 21 (.222)
*78- 4.7- 13.2 (.257)- 19.2 (.21)
79- 6.5- 20 (.409)- 34.7 (.409)
80- 7.2- 18.8 (.351)- 28.7 (.312)
*81- 4.5- 13.7 (.278)- traded with neighbor, didnt get weight before left.
*82- 5.5- 14.2 (.263)- 21.7 (.235)
83- 9.3- 22.2 (.403)- 35.7 (.388)
84- 8.2- 24.9 (.521)- 40.6 (.476)
85- 7.4- 23.2 (.493)- lost to worm load. Things had got busy and the day before I could get the worms and ewes wormed I lost this lamb. He was destined for the freezer anyway but its always hard when I'm trying so hard and still lose them. More on internal parasites later.
86- 8- 24 (.41)- traded with neighbor, didnt get second weight before left.
87- x- x- 38.6 This is the ram lamb I traded with the neighbor for so don't have other weights. Will have to wait and see what the ADG is at the next weight.

The average of the lambs ADG is .355 (second weight) so you can see I have a bunch that are above that. Commercially the goal for lambs gain is .5 ADG and happily I have a few at and near that mark. The important thing though is to balance ADG with what the animal looks like. Looking at the top five ram lambs you would think it gives me room to be choosey. But it doesnt actually because of their other traits. One looks good but taking a close look and hands on you can see that he is big boned and moderately muscled. If I breed from him I'm going to get big lambs but less dress out. They are going to have more weight in bone, not muscle. Also that rams mom was culled because she always prolapsed the week before she lambed, not a trait I want to proliferate.
One of the rams is full shetland (not what I want going forward) and he is not actually as good as he seems at face value. His mom had twins last year that each weighed nearly as much as he does at this age. So he had access to her full production of milk to grow on his own. Then if you put hands on him you can tell he is not that well muscled. His loins are not very thick, his legs are not that well muscled.

Really it came down to two ram lambs that could have been kept. Both are sired by Bingley, my home bred ram. 70s mom is also of my home bred crosses, 41.4 (.462). 73s mom is half shetland/half border cheviot, 39.8 (.469). Looking at the numbers they are a close race. 70s mom at last weight was 55#, meaning she raised a lamb to 75.3% of her own body weight. Kudos to Lydia the ewe, this is the highest ratio of ewe to lamb raised weight. 73s mom at last weight was 62#, meaning she raised a lamb to 64.2% of her own body weight. Both good. So what do they look like? 70 has long legs and is not as well muscled. 73 has stout shape and well muscled.
Here is one of my instagram posts with video clips from weight day. 73 is white, 70 is brown, 87 is white with a mottled face. https://www.instagram.com/p/CAQzwgsJmYw/

73 is the one staying. He also has the added benefit of being less related to the other sheep, for long term genetics of the flock. And of course 87 is the ram from the neighbors ewe. Both have promising fleece as well.
1 week ago
My review of CIDRs
In short- Very much worth the investment in the right management.
The whys and hows- I can see how they can be a tool or a crutch. I aspire to having a flock that meets (mostly) my other goals and that I can begin fine tuning. Having a base flock, especially a fair amount of breeding ewes, that you can then say ok now only keep ewes that breed in the first cycle. Whether that is: having a breeding group that's 34 days, a minimum two 17 day cycles, and anything that lambs after the first 17 days gets culled and all their lambs. Or having a 17 day group and scanning ewes, immediately culling all not bred ewes.
However I can see how they can be a tool. For small flocks you can easily CIDR 10 ewes, on day twelve you pull two, and following days you pull two. You should be mostly set up for lambing a couple ewes per day, not too crazy, while also being over quick and not having to make crazy all hour barn checks for a month. (Ahem. Speaking from experience.)
Alternatively maybe a small flock that shows or is working on genetics and you only have 10 ewes but you have multiple rams that will only have a few ewes to breed. It's alot easier if you are working off farm to take a week off and be done lambing, than to be insane with work and all hour barn checks for a month. (Ahem.. Again..) If you had that situation and have the paddocks or pen dividing area for so many groups, you could easily pull all 10 and have them together for 17 days and be as sure as is possible that you'll hit your planned lambing time.

So what does that mean for me now that I've tried them?
I'm going to do a saving jar again this year specifically for CIDRs and use them with the proven ewes. I've sold the ewes that had issues to a non-breeding home, essentially as lawnmowers. This brings me to 8 proven ewes and 6 ewe lambs that will be staying. The rest of the lambs I'll be feeding out to sell later, some to be butchered and packaged for sale and my own use.
I've decided that 007 (half shetland, half mini cheviot) will be staying another year for breeding. Most likely in the winter after hormones have had time to wear off after breeding then dad and I will butcher him. He is not so great to look at but his lambs are real nice and growing very well. (I'll post more about lamb growth later).
It also works out because I'm keeping 73 one of this years ram lambs. He is a son of Bingley, my home bred ram, and his mom is half shetland, half border cheviot. He is growing nice, looks nice, and shows promise to fill out as he grows.
This fall I'm planning to use 007 and 73 in a breeding group with the ewe lambs. So 007 is proven and will know what to do with the first time ewes. All the lambs will be cheviot-esque crosses.
In three weeks I'll be meeting up with the border leicester (BL) breeder who is making a transport trip since the fiber show is cancelled. I'm really looking forward to seeing the new ram lamb in person, I think he is going to be one of the keys to moving the flock forward.

I've also bartered with the neighbor, one of my ewe lambs for one of his ram lambs. So 87 is another son of Bingley, a twin from first time ewe lamb bred mom. The neighbor brought his two ewes over here to breed and one took, one didnt. They are market cross ewes and much bigger than my sheep overall. I'm interested to see how 87 fills out.
This fall I'm planning to use the BL ram lamb and 87 in a breeding group with the proven ewes. So the proven ewes know what to do and the rams will catch on. Also the BL sired lambs should have definite resemblance and be easy to tell apart.
On top of that my friend with the mini cheviots (MC) has a full mini cheviot ram lamb that she'll be selling in the fall. I've called dibs. I think she is planning to breed him to some ewes before selling so I don't think he'll be here for my breeding groups.

That will leave me going forward with a full mini cheviot ram and a full border leicester ram. Really depending on how 87 and 73 turn out will depend on if I keep them. And 87's lambs turn out since I'll be able to tell his apart from the BL's lambs, if he is worth keeping or if I should make space for a better future ram lamb to keep back.
I have several line and rotational breeding ideas. I'm waiting to see how these ewe lambs turn out before thinking too much on what future years will do. For example- If I kept 6 ewe lambs each sired by the MC and the BL.. Then bred three back to their sire and three to the opposite sire.. Compare the 75% MC to the 50% BL, 25% MC, and vice versa.
Or example- Keep back ewes from each sire and breed to other ram. 50% MC to BL and 50% BL to MC. Did one turn out better? If you do the next generation back again to the breed opposite of it's sire how do they turn out and are you retaining the wanted traits? Is it better to do like the previous example and then the 75% and 50/25% offspring retained bred to something else? I do know someone with a commercial flock and they have their own genetics based on dorset, ile de france, polypay, and south african meat merino. They sell ewe lambs for $350 each so I know a ram would be at least more than that. Or again with that kind of level of investment, I could look at polypay, corriedale, dorset that are from production flocks with some proven genetics behind the investment. But in a few years if I build up the ewe flock with these rams it would be well worth it to go for another investment to take another step up the ladder of better sheep, better growth, better production. Always lots to think about, keep the options open until you figure out what will fit best.
1 week ago
I feel like I just made a post here but in reality it's been ages! Bleh time flies!

Jan 28- shearing! Due to timing and the shearer having alot of jobs lined up all at the same time, the height of shearing being right before lambing. So I opted for earlier date rather than later. The weather the week before was uncooperative but ended up being nice enough the day of. Everything went off nicely. The setup was more smooth this year, having already gone through it last year and altered some things to work better.

February- Suprise Papa is getting his other knee replaced right before turning 90! And lambing is less than a week away! Isn't that nice of people?!
March- Lambing!
3/1- One of the first time ewes lambed and I did chores to find a very small lamb, all cleaned but dead. Apparently I just have bad luck with the first of the year for some reason.
3/2- three single lambs
3/3- one single lamb
3/4- three singles, three set twins. The ones that twinned had very little or no milk. Very frustrating. Between the other ewes that had lambed milked out some, plus some colostrum replacer, and I got some into all the lambs. I ended up entirely bottle feeding all the twins. They stayed out with the moms  and I'd take out bottles through the day. It was annoying and my attempt to adapt a nipple-bucket from a cow nipple to a lamb nipple didnt work. The lambs wouldnt take to the nipple.
3/5- three singles
3/7- very long day! One of the first timers'd had 'goo' just a little for at least the last two days. She had been the first to have a big full udder. I'd honestly expected her to lamb among the first. I decided to lube up and try to feel if there was anything coming. Fast forward from 9am to noon. Na-da. I've tried to be gentle as possible working a super lubed hand inside but only barely get up to my wrist in. My hand is cramping. I don't have huge hands but I do not have dainty lady hands at all either. And this is a first time shetland ewe only weighing about 60#. I'm calling my dad for his opinion and messaging back and forth with two very experienced people who have commercial indoor sheep barns, lambing three and four times per year, 100 to 300 ewes at a time. Fast forward two hours dad comes over and insists I let him try. I think we should put the ewe down and see if the lamb is alive. I've only barely gotten in there enough to feel the lamb, even though before reaching in I could feel it kick from my hand on the ewes belly. So I began with the assumption of a live lamb probably malpositioned. I let dad try. Needless to say his hands and arm is a bit bigger than mine. The whole thing just seems wrong, I've just got a gut feeling everything is wrong. Fast forward some more time. I pull the lamb out. Immediately following the lamb is the entirety of the uterus and vagina. Like a fleshy inside out sock. The poor ewe is in shock and now is just suffering. Even if she hadn't been through the ordeal of me trying to get a live lamb out, what is a fixable but very hard and difficult recovery. If she survived she'd never be able to breed again, IF she lived. And right at that moment she just needed to not be suffering any longer. The lamb was dead. There wasnt anything that I could say was the cause but it was definitely not alive when it came out. Put the ewe down.
By the time I got the deceased ewe and lamb, fluid and bloodied bedding, piled into the sled and pulled away.. bed up that area of the shed again.. Check the last pregnant ewe for signs of lambing.. Drag myself into the house.. It was about 10pm. A damn long day that I'll not likely forget. The next day while putting lamb records into my computer I'd find a note on my phone from 3/1 that that ewe had some 'goo' discharge. I could have kicked myself in the head were it possible. Somehow in the says after with the others lambing I'd forgot about it. And having no reason to expect an issue without SOME KIND of sign of her actually starting labor it had gone from my mind.
In hindsight.. I hypothesize that 3/1 or 3/2 the ewe started labor. The lamb was not positioned right and stayed deep inside. Not having a nose or hoof or anything to prompt me, and the ewe never showing signs of labor, no grunting, no bearing down, no secluding herself, no pawing at the ground... Not a single sign of it at all... Either her labor wasnt strong combined with a probably malpositioned lamb... Or a malpositioned lamb and after time her hormones and labor stalled out and basically stopped... Either way I had no way of knowing at the time. The ewe acted completely normal. It was completely out of my hands.

Of the three ewes that scanned not bred.. One of them was a ewe that twinned. I had put the three into a late breeding group. The other two are now nearing due. Both are nice and round and making an udder. They are due early as May 26, so ten days from now. I had counted out the days from pulling CIDRs of full heat cycles, so that plus their udders, I'm hopefull that they will lamb on or soon after that date. It will be interesting since the others took so quick, to see if these two took right away or if they started to go off from each other. Since time had passed from pulling CIDRs and syncing them.
1 week ago
Sorry to hear about the shearing and wool. It's been crazy all around and though I was worried, I'm glad I got mine shorn end of February and didn't have my 'usual' date, which would have been right when the panic started in my area.
The bright side of not getting usable fleece is that the sheep always grow more! But it's always a shame to lose out on the hard work.
2 weeks ago
"I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed." Shakespeare

"Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Oscar Wilde

"Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough" Ernest Hemmingway

"We drink the poison our minds pour for us and wonder why we feel so sick." Atticus

Meliorism (noun)- the belief that human effort can improve the world

"In the end we'll all become stories." Margaret Atwood

"Just for the record, darling, not all positive change feels positive in the beginning." S.C. Lourie

"We're all just a bunch of addicts, struggling with our drug of choice." JmStorm

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." Winnie the Pooh

"Dying is the easy part, living is the trick." Atticus

"You'll always have morons like that, swallowing belief patterns whole so they don't have to think for themselves." Richard K Morgan, Altered Carbon

"Don't take criticism from people you wouldn't ever go to for advice."

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." Thoreau

"When you tear out a man's tongue you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say." Tyrion Lannister (Game of thrones but I just love this quote)

"Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy." Thomas Merton

"You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics." Charles Bukowski

"I want to help you, but you have to be a willing participant. Of you're not, then I am no longer helping you up; it is you who is pulling me down." Dr Steve Maraboli

"If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."

"Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones. But you still have to choose." The Doctor (12th doctor)

"The world owes you nothing. It was here first." Mark Twain

"You need a little bit of insanity to do great things." Henry Rollins

"I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again" F Scott Fitzgerald

"I think it's very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person." Oscar Wilde

"My life can be described in one sentence: It didn't go as planned, and that's ok." Rachel Wolchin

"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory." Dr Suess

"It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?" Thoreau

"Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith." Margaret Shepard
1 month ago
See my older thread on guinea pigs for meat. I'd say if you are considering it firstly, get two cheap locally and feed them a while, see if you can butcher them yourself. It might sound silly but not everyone can care for an animal then kill it and eat it. Secondly, this will tell you if you like the meat and want to bother with it. They don't have a lot of meat on them.
That said, if you are in an urban situation and larger animals isn't feasible then I could see the guinea pigs being a good fit. If you like the meat. Don't sink money and time into a whole group and a year of breeding to find out. Trust me on that part haha.
If you have an area or raised beds you can grow forage to cut and feed as a supplement that would be ideal. You'd have to have a fair sized area and a small breeding group. You aren't going to compete with meat rabbits for meat production. They were lots of fun.
feel free to post on the other thread. I'll try to check back if you had any specific questions. I posted quite a lot in my thread.
2 months ago

Catherine Carney wrote:Thanks Kadence! I'm an hour northeast of Columbus. I'm hoping that my life will slow down a bit and I'll be able to find a guild and attend meetings.

Of course, I also have to land a day job, shear my sheep, spin up my backlog of fleeces, keep the raccoons from eating my show birds, etc. There's so much I want to do, but not enough hours to do it.

Gal after my own heart! haha sounds about like my life. I'll link the ones I know of..
2 months ago