Welcome to the Flock, Young Ram LLouis!

It is autumn and for the first year, we brought a ram to our flock of sheep. We had to decide whether we should stick to the Estonian white-headed breed, because all our ewes are registered Estonian white-headed ones, or rather take into account the characteristics we would like to develop, which would mean “spoiling the breed”. The Breeding Programme of the Estonian White-headed Sheep available at the web site of Estonian Sheep Raisers’ Union states that the component breeds of this breed are Texel, Dorset and the Norwegian White-headed sheep (or Dala in earlier years). The version of the programme available at the web site of the Estonian Sheep Breeding Society adds the Cheviot to the mix. ->


Learning to Know Sheep and to Handle them Gently — Mutually Complementing Goals

When you start off with raising sheep, you might not find it exactly evident that sheep can be handled in a stress-free manner, without them trying to escape at every possible moment. We got our initial sheep-related experiences with ones from a large flock who didn’t let us approach themselves closer than about 10 meters. At the same time, experience shows that even if your sheep are friendly and let themselves be hand-fed and stroked, they somehow sense the onset of uncomfortable procedures and in such cases, they often don’t want to be caught. ->


Bloody Sunday at the Duckhouse

NOTE: This post contains photos of ducks killed by a marten. If such photos may be disturbing to you, please don’t read this post! ->


The Trouble with Ear Tags of Sheep

During this spring-summer season we learned an annoying lesson related to applying ear tags to sheep. The trouble is with our yearlings (three ewes). We had postponed applying the large EU-style (Datamars) ear tags to them for a long time, in order not to spoil our friendship and cause discomfort to the animals. ->


A Well-Hatched Duckling is a Happy Duckling!

While I’m not ready with a technical comparison of this year’s incubation attempts, I would like to share an observation. ->


The Anatomy of an Unsuccessful Incubation Attempt

NOTE: This post contains photos of duck fetuses that failed to hatch as well as deformed ducklings! If such photos may be disturbing to you, please don’t read this post! ->


Work, Fun and a Lot of Sheep at Murese Farm

We have been acquainted with the folks at Murese sheep farm for a couple of years and we bought our own first sheep (as lambs) from them last year. I have grown extremely keen on sheep and I enjoy taking care of them, so for me, our sheep have turned out to be more like close friends than lawn mowers. ->


A perfect day for winter swimming

We are enjoying a mild February with temperatures around 0 degrees Celsius and some fresh snow almost every day. Thanks to the availability of water in and around the duckhouse (as described in this post), our ducks have been able to do winter swimming a lot lately. ->

sheep · ducks

Natural Products for Caring for the Internal and External Environment of Ducks and Sheep

One of our goals when raising ducks and sheep is to keep their internal and external environment healthy with natural products, avoiding the need to use prescription drugs. At the same time, we are quite lazy and prefer commercial products if possible. ->


Tuta, the epileptic sheep

We went to Maamess (an agricultural fair) this spring and on our way there, we visited a sheep farm that we know. There was a box in the corner of their living room with a 2 week old bummer lamb, who preferred to be with humans instead of other sheep. Our previous experiences were with sheep who didn’t want to let us much closer than 10 meters, so such a human friendly one piqued our interest. ->


Year-round water supply at the birdhouse

For comfortable duck raising it’s rather important to have a year-round usable water supply at the birdhouse. In addition to providing drinking water, we also have to clean up the trays that are below the drinking and eating bowls. In total this means that we need around 30l of water daily for activities related to duck keeping. ->


Once Again on the Internal Defects of Eggs

Motivated by an earlier post, I decided to investigate what are some of the possible reasons why some eggs contain blood spots or small pieces of meat-like stuff. I was wondering if I should do something to prevent such eggs being laid. Because only one of our ducks is laying at the moment, it is a good moment for making plans and creating hypotheses. ->


Recent Changes in This Blog

This is a technical article about the architecture of the blog and the tools used. ->


Calibrating the Laying Apparatus

Our young female runner ducks started laying at around 4 months of age but it took them about a month more to start producing more or less stable-sized eggs with yolk inside. ->


What did the Goshawk Teach Us?

In the beginning of august we experienced our first encounter with the Northern goshawk. We knew they were living not far from us and that they had killed many of the chickens of the previous owner of our house, but they hadn’t touched our ducks yet. After all, a grown up runner duck seemed to be too large for such a bird. ->


Juvenile Molt in Pictures

We decided to butcher one of our male ducklings while it was going through its juvenile molt. The bird was about 12 weeks old and the molt had been going on for a couple of weeks already. Basically, I was curious to see what pinfeathers actually look like and how hard it would be to pluck these. ->


Brinsea EcoGlow 20: Fun But Not Too Practical

On their homepage, Brinsea say the following about their EcoGlow 20 brooder: “Clean, safe, tough and extremely economical”. ->


Examining Eggs Prior to Incubation: a Beginner's Mistakes

I wonder how many raisers of ducks and consumers of duck eggs have come across “stuff” like this inside eggs: ->


Debris, Fuzz and Fluff in the Incubator

The incubator that this post refers to is Brinsea Octagon 20. ->

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