Saturday, March 26, 2011

Turning Patsy Sheep into Art

Patsy, as you may recall, is a Jacob x Barbado sheep ewe.  She has 5 horns, although in this picture you can only see 3 horns clearly.  Even though it is spring we still have a foot (or more) of snow here, and not much can be done outside, so I thought I would take a picture of Patsy and do some photo manipulation work to it using a program called Corel Photo-Paint 8. 

Here is the original photo of Patsy sheep.

This is not a great picture, she is at a funny angle, there are the legs of another sheep in the background, and the upper corners are bright and distracting.  As such it is a good photo to have fun with and turn into some art.

Photos, of course, are copyright owned by myself, not for reproduction!

I first had to add some color to the white parts in the background, and blur out the pair of legs.  I also had to make Patsy's eye darker so it would not be lost in the art rendition. 

I came up with several images, this is just one.  Here I used a program called Fractalius. 

If you would like to see the other images (including one where she looks more like a rug), and the steps used to get this image, you can see the full link called Art, Fun with Patsy.

Other Links of Interest

How to Take Better Photographs of a Pet

Painting Sheep -this blog

Patsy has Twins - this blog

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baby Katahdin Scares, then has Lambs Days Later

Baby Katahdin, our youngest ewe - being born last year, and the only one who would be a first time mother, is a shy sheep.  She is a bit smaller and was terrified of us earlier in the year.  Throughout the winter she has slowly learned how to trust us (the oats helped) but is easily intimidated by the bigger sheep who push her out of the way at feeding time. 

She has been thin - so I have been hand feeding her extra oats.  Two nights ago, however, she started choking on her oats, to the point it looked like she was a gonner.. she was frothing at the mouth and stood frozen, clearly in fear.  I gave her a hard smack on  her shoulder hoping to clear her throat.  Well the poor sheep must have thought I was horrible, but after a few tense moments she was fine.

Today, March 19, 2011, I went outside to give the sheep some hay for lunch, this is because our weather has been crazy this winter and we still have over a foot of snow on the ground and it gives them something to do in the middle of these winter days – eat. Finally we are seeing temperatures around the freezing mark, or just above – today was +1C (just above melting).

At the time I could see Girlie was in the shed with her two young lambs (just over a week old) and with her was Baby Katahdin – and just above the snow drift I could see a tiny white head pop up so I knew she had a lamb.

I went into the house to call my daughter for help. It's never easy getting one sheep and her lambs into the barn in the middle of the day. We spotted a darker lamb laying near by – shivering – both were still wet, born only minutes earlier. It took some doing but we finally got them into the barn (and chased the other sheep back out).

My daughter dried off the lambs, while I got their mother some water - ewes often need a good drink after lambing and this one was no exception. 

Having twins for their first year is not easy, she seems to be mothering both though and hopefully will have enough milk to provide for them - as she has been thin and does not have a huge udder - this is a concern!

The white lamb is a male - ram lamb.  The brown one is a female - ewe lamb. 

So that brings our total to 18 lambs - 9 male, 9 female, a perfect split!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Adopt a Sheep

When most people think about adoption they only think about cats, or dogs. Maybe they think about exotic animals such as rabbits, but few think about adopting farm animals and livestock.

There are some pet rescues that also offer, or even focus only on, rescuing livestock and farm animals. There are loads of sites for finding farm animals for sale, but few that focus on farm animals, such as sheep, for adoption. One that does have a listing of sheep for adoption is

My petfinder search showed nearly 30 sheep for adoption, most were rams, or wethers, but there were also lambs, and ewes. All of the adoptable sheep I found where in the USA, but also offers space for animal shelters, and livestock rescue groups, from Canada and Mexico to list their adoptable animals.

I strongly encourage anyone looking for a “Pet” sheep to check out's listing of adoptable sheep.

Below I want to show examples of two of the adoptable sheep from Petfinder.  I hope they get homes soon. 

If you are unfamiliar with sheep like Authur, he is a Jacob sheep - noted for their colors and fancy horn growth.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Girlies Matched Set of Twins

Girlie is part hair part wool sheep. Her mother is Mrs Dark Brown Barbado, the sheep who earlier had triplets, her father being a wool sheep x Barbado. Girlie had two lambs last year (her first lambs) but was a bit overwhelmed and we ended up bottle feeding one.

On March 10, Girlie did not come into the barn with the rest of the sheep. It was just lucky we noticed her missing really, as it was a cold night and we were hurrying. I went out and they Girlie was in the old barn, standing with two identical twins... well not quite identical, one is a ewe lamb, the other a ram lamb.

Both lambs are solid orange - their father being a Katahdin.  The little lambs needed to have their ears rubbed as they were quite cold – temperatures are still below freezing – well below seasonal normals.  The ram lamb is on the left, the ewe lamb on the right.

I took a few pictures after getting the mother ewe and her lambs set up in a stall but the camera seemed to be acting weird so gave my husband instructions to take more pictures in the morning after I went to work.

By morning time it would appear the camera was acting even weirder. My husband got several pictures, but most had terrible double images. Well that's what you get for buying a cheap Walmart Camera I guess.  The above photo is the only picture (of about 10) that did not have a double image, but the color is slightly odd.  I am pretty sure this is the ewe lamb. 

So far it looks like Girlie is letting both lambs nurse - so that is a good sign.  I hardly feel like looking after any more bottle baby sheep!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

They Came for the Hay

This winter has been long and hard (here in Alberta at least).  Our temperatures have been well below normal for the month of February, and now March.  The snow is still deep and due to the strange weather cycle we had this year, it is very hard for wild animals to dig through to find grass underneath.  As such deer have recently discovered our hay bales and have been coming for free meals. 

One day while my husband and I were home (March 7, 2011 to be specific) several deer came up the driveway for lunch.  Our donkey, Aggie, must have seen them as she started baying. 

The deer did not stick around for long.  While we did not intentionally scare them away, they must have heard the door open as we tried to take many pictures. 

I am sure they will be back, perhaps at night, or another day.

This is not our first invasion by wildlife, we have had skunks visit, coyotes (we chase them off of course), porcupines, and even a moose!  Read more about our Wild Friend's Visits.

If you should encounter a fawn resting - without a mother - you will want to know that it is best left alone - read more about what to do when you Find a Fawn.

If you are a deer, or know a deer, with wild deer issues Click Here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cruelty of the Karakul Lamb Industry

Karakul lambs are often harvested and slaughtered in a brutal manner – being killed just before they were due to be born. That is not the only cruel thing, killing a lamb at this stage means either the mother is killed before giving birth, or kicked repeatedly to induce an “abortion”.

Karakul lamb hides are also marketed as Persian Lamb, or broadtail. The term broadtail specifically refers to the pelt of a lamb harvested in such a way as mentioned, the other term for this is “Fetal-lamb”. If a lamb is born, and to be used in the fur industry it is killed before it is three days old. After that the fur is not as tight in the curls, and the color not as dark.  As the coat in the picture above has tight curls, but is not black - the coat was probably colored gray, or perhaps even sun bleached.

Although we cover issues of raising sheep, and lambs, and understand that many lambs go for slaughter to be consumed as food (either for humans or pets), they are at least given months to live, and their mothers not treated to such cruelty. We encourage people to avoid buying coats,or products, made from Karakul lambs.