Friday, November 30, 2012

Breeds of Sheep whose Wool is Used for Carpets

When we look at the kind of wool sheep have there are 4 main types, of course this is not counting the hair sheep.

Of the wool sheep there are those such as the Merino and Rambouillete who produce fine wool; wool with a diameter under 30 microns. There are long wool sheep such as the Lincoln and Romney. There are the medium wool sheep, who are also meat, such as the Dorset, Suffolk, Texel, and Hampshire, and then there are the carpet wool sheep such as the Scottish Blackface, Navajo Churro, Icelandic, Elliotdale, Carpetmaster, Drysdale, Awassi, and Karakul. Certain breeds of sheep are more popular in certain areas.

The carpet wool sheep tend to have wool that has a diameter greater than 38 microns. The wool is considered too coarse for clothing but is perfect for carpets. The sheep that produce this coarse wool often have thicker double coats, and live in cold climates.

Some people may wonder if collecting wool from a sheep for the purpose of making a carpet is cruel, but it is not as cruel as you might think. Wool is sheared from a sheep not only so we can collect it but also so the sheep do not overheat in the summer. A heavy coat of wool on an animal in the summer can cause heat stroke. Removing the wool also helps the farmer identify any problems with external parasites (keds). 

Occasionally a sheep may be nicked in the process of shearing but a good shearer is fast and does not cause undue stress, or injury, to the animals. 

In contrast a “sheepskin rug” is when the sheep is actually killed and skinned for its pelt.

The fleece that is sheared from a sheep is washed and can be dyed 

If you are looking for a carpet be sure to check Carpetvista, with over 15,000 carpets, and roughly 2,000 added each month you are sure to find the right carpet for you. Their prices are great and they have a 30 day money back guarantee. 

Carpetvista is located in Sweden but they sell affordable quality carpets throughout Europe – prices are indicated in Euros.

Handmade carpets probably originated in central Asia and are now best sold under the name of the area in which the carpet was made or by which group of people made the carpet (example a Persian rug).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Disappointing Pictures of Lambs

Well I guess the title is a bit of a giveaway!

A couple of days ago the weather was good so I went to take some pictures of the sheep. There were two images I really wanted to capture, one being the difference in the coat of a wool lamb and a hair lamb, and the other was a picture of Diamond's twins (born on October 17) and Girlie's triplets (born onOctober 8) to show how much bigger Diamond's lambs are.

I was able to get one picture of a wool lamb and a hair lamb but the picture won't be winning any awards for cute lambs because I was never able to get them close together until they were walking away from me. These two are twins, their mother, Blackie sheep is part wool but has a bit of hair sheep in her too. The father is a hair sheep. You can see the lamb with more white inherited more genes for the hair coat, while the other lamb inherited genes for wool, and his coat is much shorter, and the poor guy has a harder time with the colder days.

The other planned picture of Diamond's big lambs next to Girlie's smaller lambs did not happen, the sheep were not cooperative. Diamond is a larger ewe but I think there were also other reasons why her lambs are so massive; she produces the most milk of any of our sheep, and with her lambs being twins it is normal they would be larger than triplets. I think Diamond may have been over due too. The white lamb is the ram lamb and he is bigger than the black ewe lamb.

At any rate I was a bit disappointed with my photography that day, but as the weather has turned worse (today was –12 C with a bitter wind) I will not be going out to take more pictures for a little while.

For my friends and readers in the United States I wish to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. If you are a pet owner I want to share with you this link to awesome BlackFriday shopping specials and deals from many companies. Some of these deals start now, and others are good until December, while a few are strictly for the Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday (all dates are indicated).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Where to Buy Quality Cashmere Online

Cashmere is a fabric made from the fibers produced by certain goats. Cashmere producing goats originated in the Kashmir area of the Himalayas. The goats are not a breed, as a few breeds of goats do produce this fiber, however of the goats that produce cashmere very little is produced, in fact an average cashmere producing goat might only produce about one quarter, to one third, of a pound of cashmere fibers per year.

Those people who are concerned with animal welfare will be happy to know that cashmere is removed from the animals without killing them or hurting them, it can be removed by trimming their hair, or using a special brush, as normally these hairs shed around the time of the winter solstice. 

Cashmere is graded for quality, with Grade A being considered to be the very finest. Grade A cashmere is when the individual fibers measure 14 – 15.5 microns in diameter and as such is very soft. Because they are so fine cashmere fibers are usually not spun by machine and are hand spun instead.

Cashmere is then made into yarn and then can be made into anything from sweaters, to baby blankets, throws, robes, scarves, and so on. The term Pashmina is often interchanged with Cashmere, and is sometimes specifically used to refer to shawls and wraps made from cashmere. Sometimes the term Pashmina has been used loosely to refer to soft shawls in general with no regards to what fibers are actually used.

Consumers looking for products made from only Grade A cashmere will be delighted with the selection from Cashmere Boutique. Additionally when a product from Cashmere Boutique says “pashmina” you know it is referring honestly to the fibers of a goat.

Cashmere Boutique has many cashmere products and are a favorite of women looking for luxurious feeling clothing, however cashmere is not just for women. Cashmere Boutique has a line of sweaters and coats for men too. They are on trend with all the latest styles and colors to put you on top of the fashion world. Cashmere Boutique even has super soft socks and slippers.

Some of the fashion items from Cashmere Boutique have silk added to make a lighter weight product. These items are always labeled as Cashmere silk blends.

Because they specialize in Cashmere, and only use Grade A cashmere, you know you are getting a wonderful product when you order from Cashmere Boutique.

Keep your cashmere in good condition by hand washing and laying it flat to dry. You can also have cashmere dry cleaned. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lambs at Play on a Wintery Day

With winter underway (although technically it is still fall), the lambs are out in the snow, growing and having fun.  I am bringing them in the barn only at night so the moms can get extra oats and the little lambs are safe.

We did have a horrid cold snap a week ago along with a good amount of snow, but this week temperatures have been warmer - I even got out with the camera.

Here we see Girlie and her triplets that were born in October on Canadian Thanksgiving.  At first I had been worried that the black lambs might not be getting enough milk to drink because at first they were smaller than the white ewe lamb but after a few weeks it seemed the tables turned and one day I had to bring the white ewe lamb into the house and bottle feed her.

 I returned her to the barn that night and over the next couple of days I continued to bottle feed her, then I noticed one of the black lambs was also not looking good.  For a few days I was bottle feeding two of them.  Then suddenly the white lamb started refusing the bottle, for days I tried to feed her and she refused - the black lamb was fine and insisting on his bottle.  I was quite concerned about the white one so started putting her in a stall by herself with lamb starter crumble so she could eat it without being pushed out of the way by the larger lambs (we have 2 sets of twins born after her but they are larger).

As it is now I am just bottle feeding the black lamb twice a day, the other black lamb is fine on his own, and the white one simply refuses the bottle but is eating lamb starter twice a day.  She is now the smallest of the triplet lambs but is otherwise looking healthy overall.

To note - you can tell if a lamb is doing poorly and needs bottle feeding because it will often stand humped up.   If you think your lamb (or any pet) needs veterinarian attention  you can ask a veterinarian for free help by clicking the logo above.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Help a Horse Gain Weight

One problem for some horses is keeping weight on.

If you have rescued a thin horse, or your mare is having a hard time putting on weight after having a foal, or you have a performance horse that just cannot keep weight on, or you have an older thin horse, there are some things that can help.

Typically people try to help their horse gain weight by offering it more feed, and while this can help it wont always do the trick. Additionally some horses are prone to colic by eating too much grain and others just become too “hot” when their grain ration is increased.

Arab mare and foal
You should worm the horse and make sure its teeth are in good condition. A horse with poor teeth may need them to be “floated” which is where the sharp edges on teeth are sanded down by a veterinarian.

Additionally you should be aware of some supplements for helping your horse to gain weight. sells a large range of supplements including those for thin horses. One of their most popular products is Farnam Weight Builder. Below we will look at some of the top products for helping horses to gain weight and stay in shape as sold by

Farnam Weight Builder for horses provides horses with extra protein, fat calories, fiber, and minerals. Not only does it help a horse to gain weight but it improves their skin and coat too.

Start to Finish Cool Calories 100 is specially formulated to add more energy to a performance horse without making the horse become high strung. This is a product that many Olympic riders feed to their horses and recommend to others.

AniMed Weight-Up offers additional support beyond just adding calories to your horse's diet. It contains healthy bacteria to improve your horse's digestion. This is a great product for all horses and particularly those who may have had issues with malnutrition.

These three feed supplements for horses are just a small sampling of the many products available for weight issues in horses from (or at your local feed store).

If you are a horse owner, or somebody involved in horse rescue, and weight issues are a concern for you, then I encourage you to worm your horse, examine its teeth and consider adding a supplement to your horse's feed, such as those mentioned above from To help you out here is a link you can click on free shipping (or use the above banner link for discounts and other savings).

Also with if you sign up for “Autoship” you receive a 10% savings bonus on your orders.

To see the foal in the picture as she grew up read her story here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Deer Almost Trapped in a Bird Aviary

A few summers ago my husband built two starplate aviaries for us to use to keep pet birds in.  We have used the aviaries for ducks, pheasants, and pigeons.  This past fall we sold the pigeons and since then the aviaries were left open, I figured the cats would enjoy going in there.  I never bothered to clean out the last of the pigeon feed as I thought that eventually chickadees and other birds would come along and eat it up the seeds.

I did not expect to see a deer eating the bird seed though.

That was until a few days ago when we had a small snow fall and in the early evening my husband happened to notice there was a deer in one of the aviaries.  We often have deer visit in the winter, they come to steal the hay.  However it appeared this particular deer somehow realized there was oats and seeds in the shelter left over from the pigeons and she was standing in the aviary eating quite happily.

The deer was aware of us watching her, but we were in the house, and she clearly was not worried about us, I got worried though.

I know horses can get founder from eating too many oats when they are not use to it, and once had a lamb swell up after getting into the chicken scratch and eating a handful (the lamb lived), so I was concerned that deer might have problems too.  I chased her away.

The deer was a white tailed deer as that is what is common in the area.  Sorry for the poor photo quality, my husband took the picture from inside the house.  

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Other Reading

How to Keep Deer Out of your Garden

Monday, November 5, 2012

How to Keep Cats Warm in the Winter

Domestic cats came from Africa and Asia, although they can tolerate the cold it can take its toll on a cat.  Learn some tips for keeping your outdoor cat warm this winter.

Cats can get frostbite, their ears and tail are the most likely places to suffer from this.  The cat, Binx, whom was left here after his owners moved away had suffered frostbite at some point as the tips of his ears were missing.  Even large animals such as horses have lost their ears due to frostbite so you can only imagine what it could to to the thin ears of an outdoor kitty cat.

Old cats, and of course the very young, are particularly vulnerable to the cold.  In the old cats they also have aches and pains due to arthritis, and they really need to be kept warm because the cold weather makes their pains worse. For these cats a heated cat bed can really help.

Cats who are outside in the winter need extra food, they should not be on a restricted diet.

I have couple of cats who stay outdoors in the winter, they have a warm barn and several other outbuildings they can go into, but I have run into a few problems with feeding these cats.  It is a good idea to leave dry food out at all times, but I have had skunks come and eat their food at night, and blue jays steal their food in the day.  As such I have had to find a few places to leave cat food where neither the skunk nor the jays can find it.   I have some cat food in a stall in the barn, and some on a ledge in the garage, as well as the bowl on the deck that I can take in at night.

When it gets very cold outdoor cats benefit from the extra energy that canned food can give them.  Try to give them a little bit every day when it is cold out.

If your cats are outdoors in the winter and you do not have warm outbuildings for them to go into you can get a small dog house and the cats will use that, be sure to put down straw or towels to add warmth, or consider getting a heated blanket for outdoor use.

Also make sure your outdoor cats have fresh water as they should not be made to eat snow.  You can buy electric heated water bowls to make sure your cats stay hydrated.

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