Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Winter Flock and Guardian Donkey

The other day was warm, I thought it would be a good day to take pictures of the sheep, but they didn't seem t be doing anything too interesting, they were just standing in the sun, in the shed.  I still thought this would be a good time to take pictures since the pictures can be used to show people what a shed for livestock looks like.

At the time only the sheep, and donkey, were in the shed.  Crystal, the llama, must have been off somewhere doing her own thing.

The lambs are not due until March, which is much better than last year when they started delivering new years eve and continued through the cold months of January and February.  This year has at least been warmer, and lots less snow too.  I am sure the sheep are happy to have a better winter.

I took these pictures only a few days ago, everyone is on their best behavior, waiting to see what Santa might bring them for Christmas.

I had to take two pictures of my small sheep flock, and have no idea of how to splice them together to make one big picture.  In the first pictures we have, from left to right, Girlie sheep, Patsy sheep (laying down) and Aggie the donkey, as well as Mrs White Katahdin.

*Yes, some farmers do name their animals.

In the second picture we see, starting from the left, the as yet unnamed Dorper ram.  In front of him is Diamond sheep.  In front of Diamond is Blackie, and Blackie's mom, Favorite Sheep (the one that had the stroke a few years ago).  Back in the shed, behind Diamond we see Mrs Dark Brown Barbado (named Dark Brown because when we got her we first had two and she was the darker one), and to the far right, and still in the shed is Mrs Brown Katahdin.

I think for Christmas we will give them an extra snack of hay around noon and some cut up apples.  They really love those.  We buy the discounted apples at the grocery store as they make a nice treat for the sheep and Aggie.   We may even put a few out for the birds too.

On behalf of myself, husband, and daughter, and all our critters, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season, be sure to keep extra care of your pets over the holidays, so many times we get busy and forget about them out in the cold. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Goats that Fall Down

When I attend the odd and unusual livestock auctions everyone always looks forward to the fainting goats.  These small goats are super cute and when scared their legs freeze up and they often fall right over, they lay there fully away but immobile for about 5-15 seconds, until their muscles relax, then they jump up and carry on. 

The condition these goats have is myotonia congentia and as a result they are often called Myotonic goats, fainting goats, or wooden leg goats.  The gene responsible for this condition is recessive, but has been found in other animals, including humans and cats.

I found the above video on YouTube, it is not my Goat, his name is Gonzo.

In the goats one sudden scare causes their muscles to freeze up, they lose balance and fall to their side.  The younger goats are more prone to falling, as the older ones soon learn to brace themselves.  Although once used as meat goats these animals have since become popular as novelty pets.

Myotonic goats  tend to be docile as a result of their condition and have a poor time climbing fences - which is something many other goats are noted for doing, as such they can be good pets for people who are new to the world of keeping goats.  The biggest concern is that they are very vulnerable to predators, such as coyotes or dogs.  It is not necessarily true that predators will be confused when the goat falls over, it might just be thrilled at the chance for an easier kill.

If you are looking for a cute, novelty, goat breed, then Myotonic goats may be just what you are looking for.  I have seen prices at the Innisfail Auction Market, Alberta, for Myotonic goats being anywhere from $30 to over $100.