Our latest major farm purchase -- a used horse trailer. Can we afford it? No. But I thought it was a very good deal so we bit the bullet and bought it last night.
With Bluefaced Leicester sheep, the option of popping them in a dog crate and driving all over the country is not quite as easy as it was with Shetlands. That is a great thing about the Shetlands, they are very mobile. But my two year BFL ram Dougal, is getting pretty heavy, I would guess he's around ~150 lbs. The thought of lifting him up into a truck bed isn't very tempting. This is a small trailer, but I think I could fit about 6 adult BFLs in it, or 8-10 Shetlands. Of course the gas consumption will limit its use to the bare essentials, but we will use it for hauling hay home from our Ogilvie property too. And if we ever decide to get into beef cattle, we'll be all set. :-).
People were interested in the horn growth on the BFL crosses, so I thought I would snap photos of the heads of our Shetland Mule boys this morning (Please excuse all the hay on these guys, they are such pigs at the feeder). Above is an intact Shetland Mule ram lamb, he's 3 months old now. This guy hasn't grown as large as the other mule lambs, but I think his horn growth is very typical of what you can expect Shetland mule ram lambs to have.
He was sired by a white BFL. His twin sister is white, his dam is Bramble Jemma, a black iset Shetland. There are people who say the Natural colored BFL sires will produce more horn growth in their offspring than the white BFL sires. We wethered all our other Mule ram lambs, so I can't say for certain how their horns would have turned out. Below is Socks, a Shetland mule who was wethered at a couple weeks of age, no horns - very BFL influenced fleece. Too bad his sister didn't get that fleece!
And in the photo below you see our other intact 3/4 BFL ram lamb, T-Bone, and his very limited horn growth. The white 3/4 BFL ram lamb pictured in my last post has the most horn growth of any of our crosses (he was sired by a NC BFL ram and his dam was sired by the white BFL).
I am very impressed with T-Bone, he weighed 13 lbs at 1 day old and he's probably about 85 pounds now at four months (I wish I had a scale!). All of our 3/4 ram lambs were singles out of our yearling Shetland Mules. And they are all very nice sized. I am impressed with the mothering ability of the Shetland Mules.
While I was outside getting more horn shots from the Mules, and I took a few more shots of River Oaks McIntire. I registered him as shaela, but now I'm thinking he might be dark brown. I just love this guy, he reminds me a lot of his sire. Too bad I'm not keeping horned rams anymore. I've got to get him halter trained and picked clean of VM in time for Jefferson!
The other day I noticed the hydrangea blossoms were pretty big this year. You can see I'm not on top of things around here, this blossom is no longer white, but I thought it was worth taking a photo of. There are several like this as big a plates. I'm no expert on hydrangeas, maybe they are supposed to be that size? In the past our have more like softball size.