As April is drawing to an end…

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I try to write a blog entry every month to keep those that are more curious about the story behind the videos and what’s happening at the farm. I have so much going on right now, but things are about to settle down. Aside from my search for a friend for Sniper, after Mormor’s passing- I think it’s about ready to bring in a new animal. My intention being to have a variety of unique animals that will prepare to be open to the public as a petting zoo.

For those that are unaware, Mormor the ostrich passed away due to a genetic defect that was formed in her egg. I was sold her like this, unknowingly. Once it became apparently, I could only hope she can live. I miss her very much and look back on her fondly. I am just glad to have prepared her with a happy 7 months of life, as she would have most certainly been slaughtered or ‘culled’ immediately as her neck began to turn crooked.

I’m debating starting a small fund raiser to help pay for the cost of getting Sniper a companion. I am working on communicating with the rancher that sold the birds to me in the first place, to get an estimate on how much he would charge to bring home a more mature bird that is around Sniper’s age. Otherwise Sniper will be without a friend all year long, as the chicks begin to develop and cannot be placed with her. Finding a yearling female from last year’s hatch is deal, but will require the expense of the bird as well as hauling. I know there are a lot of caring people out there that miss Mormor and would love to see him paired up with a like-kind.

Even with a few dollar donation spread out among money, I think we could easily reach the goal and get Sniper a ‘girlfriend’ around the same age as him. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in contributing to. I imagine the cost with transportation may be around $500- which would only take 100 people donating $5 bucks to the fund. It’s just a thought though and I find to find out how much he would want for the bird. Strangely enough, he seemed unaware of what sex the yearling was. I am almost positive Sniper is a boy. In case you missed it, he is displaying alternate wing flapping as seen in male ostriches and in general has become more aggressive. He needs his own mate to take care of. Fig and Kabul will be given their own message after Sniper has his mate, but for now they are softening the blow due to Mormor’s loss.

Here’s some proof that Sniper is indeed a male:

Therefore we’d have to make sure to get him a female. If the breeder really can’t tell, a DNA test would be in order before even trying to move her here.


I have a contest on-going. After Dasher had her twins and Trivia had her beautiful Purebred Mouflon- none of the other ewes have lambed! I thought it might be fun to find you guys a really cool prize and offer it to the person who guesses the correct date the next lamb will be born. I love running these contests, as just a general thank you for watching. In fact, as soon as this one is over, I’m going to start another one. Both prizes are hand-made beautifully intricate wool camels. The 2nd contest will begin just as the first one ends. If you have not yet entered, you can do so here:

Thank you again to for donating him.


Dasher’s twins 50% wild Mouflon lambs are sold. Trivia’s young Mouflon ewe, I am keeping. I have no lambs currently available, but do expect two more hybrids and than that is it for the year. The lambs have been in such high demand here, I regret not purchasing more high quality ewes to breed Octavian to to meet the demand. I am very picky about my sheep, but hope I can find some more this Spring and Summer, so that I can have have new fresh blood to spread around Arizona, which is desperately lacking in any diversity.

He turned out beautifully. He’s going to make his new owners very happy.


I promised in March that by the end of it I would have high quality prints for sale, with all the proceeds going back into the animals. I ordered a variety of different 8×10s, trying to decide which is the best quality and also had to figure out the best way to get them for you, while being able to use as much proceeds as possible toward the animals. Unless, I get very very busy- I think I should be able to have them available the last week of April or first week of May. They’ll be found for sale at

As always you can directly donate through my Amazon Wish List. You can find more information about that here:


Recently, I was on the Animal Planet show, “My Preposterous Pets.” It aired early in April in the UK and will be begin to air Worldwide in May. I don’t think a US date has been released, but keep an update. I haven’t seen seen the show myself! All I know is they spent 18 hours here filming me with the camels, so it should be very interesting. I’m sure the ostriches and emus also make an appearance! I have also been invited to due a reality tv show based on my life, but I declined. It just didn’t feel right and not really about the animals. The money was tempting, but I’d rather not take the education out of what I’m doing.


Nessie and Baby are doing very well. Nessie is finally reaching her full adult size and is maturing out nicely. I hope I can get her bred- I really do. Not just because of the fun it would be to raise a baby camel, but because she really has some fantastic genetics to pass on. Just look at her:

I get a lot of emails about the camels. I mean A LOT. I spend at least an hour a day just answering emails. It makes me feel wonderful to know I’ve inspired so many to look into owning one for themselves and I love to answer your questions. I may do a video show answering some of the main questions I receive. For those interesting in owning their very own camel, watch the video below. I made it some time ago, but everything still applies and it will get you on the right track.

Don’t put this off from emailing me though. I would love to help you. If you ever have any questions, you can contact me through FB, but email to is better. If I do NOT email you back within a week- I am so sorry- please just send the email again. I can get swamped with questions and do not mean to ignore you, I simply am organized with my inbox and overlooked it.


Finally, Pancake and Sugar Tree are just as close as ever. It’s almost been a year since Misky and Blondi has passed- which I just can’t believe how much time goes by. I am considering adding a second dog to the household. I do have Chomby, as you probably know, but she is a 100% all about business. She won’t even step inside the house at all. You can’t even drag her in! She wants to be out with the sheep and watching them at all times, or she comes visibly distressed. She’s a wonderful dog and I love her very much, but it isn’t the same as owning a companion dog. Sugar Tree will be five years old in October, so I feel that this is the perfect time to get a puppy.


Recently, I visited an ostrich ranch on the way home from delivering one of Dasher’s lambs. I picked up 10 post cards for my subscribers and offered them to the first 10 people to reply and say they wanted one. Thank you- I have everyone’s address now and will be sending them to you on Tuesday most likely. If you weren’t able to get a post card this time, I’ll be doing many other give aways I’m sure.

You can see my trip here. If you love ostriches, don’t miss this one.


It’s been a mild temperature here right now, with a few hot days. With May right around the corner- it’s going to start getting hotter. Good thing all my animals just love the heat!

I think that’s about it. As always, thank you for watching my videos. Every time you watch, Google pays me a very small amount of money for the advertisement on the video (which must be watched). It’s literally pennies, but every little bit helps. So when you watch them, you are literally donating right back to the animals. Sharing with your friends, liking and leaving a comment also make my channel higher up in YouTube’s ranking system, so more people can find it. The bigger Camels & Friends can expand the more likely I’ll be able to be open to the public, so everyone can meet these fantastic animals in person.

I try my best to keep blogging, posting on FB, and putting out as many videos as possible, so that you stay in touch with the animals and really get to know them. It’s become more than a full time job, but it’s so rewarding. I hope one day you can visit them in person. Thank you all again for your support.


Now let’s get some of the lambs born! Keep your fingers cross!


Lambing season has begun…

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I’ve been looking forward to it all year and it’s finally here! The first lamb was born the other week. It was Octavian’s first mating with another purebred Mouflon. Trivia had the honor of having her lamb first. A healthy little girl. She’s already keeping up with the herd and you can just see the intelligence in her eyes. I’m so relieved she was born healthy and every day makes me more confident that she’ll survive and thrive.

A week later, it was Dasher’s turn and she surprised me with twin boys! I thought she was a little too fat for just one, but I was just thrilled. They’re beautiful little lambs taking on many of the characteristics of their sire (Octavian). These two boys will be available to sale for the right homes. I will allow one to go for bottle raising, as even Mouflon hybrids can be quite wild if not hand raised, but I want to leave boy for Dasher to take care of. They’re very active, thick boned with long legs. They’ll end up looking a lot like Mouflon, but a little more stout. They are likely to be polled, but there is a small change (about 25%) they will develop horns. Polled are preferred to many farmers (polled means without horns), because they are easier to manager. Being 50/50 crosses, the wild genes from the sire are sure to bring in some new blood to someone’s flock and I wish them to go to someone who honestly cares about improving the health of their sheep.

I also added a new sheep to the flock. It’s been about a year since I have, which is far too long, but I guess I am very picky! I drove eight hours to get this little ram. He’s a Jacob Sheep that I named Jackson. I just added his profile on my web site, so you can learn more about him by visiting:

My main intention was to purchase Jackson as a buddy for Octavian. Since Octavian is a ram, he sort of likes to ram everything! I want to be able to walk with my ewes and enjoy them and he’s always getting in the way and wanting my full attention (or wanting me out of the way and away from his ladies!). So I got him his own pasture. The problem was that even male sheep are social animals and in nature Mouflon rams stick together after breeding season and form their own bachelor herds. That means I had to find him a buddy. Recently, I introduced them together and it worked out perfectly. They’re very attached to each other and they barely even scuffle. Jackson is very cute, I mean teddy bear cute. He has a great face and his horns seem be developing nicely. Jacob Sheep are a critically endangered breed, so in that sense I feel obligated to find a purebred ewe for him for next season (they are seasonal breeders). I am looking at ewes now, but it may be difficult. There are only about 1,000 Jacob Sheep registered in the United States every year.

This year, I’ll be keeping the few purebred European Mouflon I have to expand my herd with the intention of hopefully offering them for sale in the coming years to improve the quality of the sheep we have in Arizona. Arizona is lacking in diversity and sheep enthusiasts are rare. I want to do my part to change that and get people excited about sheep. They really are delightful animals.

I’ve been spending a lot of time and money with my sheep setup, but it’s looking like I’ll eventually need to make another 1,500 mile trip to Texas to bring back new Mouflon blood. It’s a big investment, but it’s something I feel passionate about. Now all that’s left is to keep saving and hope that I can afford the transportation costs.

The camels

The camels barely shed this year. If you look at their recent videos posted lately and then compare them to last winter, you’ll see a remarkable difference. We barely had a winter. They’ll be in a clean summer coat in no time. Both are doing well and Nessie is now far past the age that should could be bred. I would love to find her a stud, but all the leads I have followed have been proven to be dead ends.

The ostrich and emus

Sadly, I lost Mormor the ostrich last month. I don’t want to say too much about it than I already have, because it was very difficult for me to. I have accepted that there was nothing I could have done for him and he was born deformed and was only had so much time on this planet. I still miss him terribly. I’m glad Sniper (my other ostrich) has his Emu friends or else I think he would be very very lonely right now.

I appreciate all the gifts that were sent to me in Mormor’s honor and it’s always helpful when I get donations for the animals in the mail. It allows me to reach a larger number of animals, take in fosters, and setup aviaries and rehabilitation areas for injured animals. My ultimate goal is to become open to the public. I want to give tours that are educational talks where people come and have a personal one-on-one experience with the animals, while learning about that. I am especially interested in teaching children in hopes of instilling a respect for animals while they’re young. I am very far away from that goal, but every donation moves me a little bit closer to achieving it and I just have to stay positive and keep working on having a fully functional facility that helps to conserve rare species and assist animals with disabilities.

I believe that I can achieve it, but only without the support from all of you. Thank you for everything you’ve done so far. Shortly, I’ll be offering artwork and unique gifts through my web site that you can purchase with all proceeds going toward the animals. I will also be setting up another aviary and taking in an injured animal. He will need veterinary care and is probably going to be disabled for his life, but I believe I can provide him with the means to have a fulfilling one. Other than that, I am still on the search for a mate for Marion (my hornbill). It’s a terrible thing for a social animal to be alone.

Looking back on 2013

It has been a wonderful year for me, mainly because of the support of subscribers like you. When you watch my videos and become interested in the animals, it makes me know that I am making a difference and inspires me to put my heart and soul into this. I really couldn’t ask to be any more blessed.

Looking forward…

I will continue with my sheep improvement program and on creating unique gifts that will be sold exclusively through Camels & Friends. And of course I will continue to film more videos! I am trying to do it on a more regular basis- even daily! I want you to be able to see how these animals think, feel, play, and live and be with them at every moment. Every time you watch a video I post it helps support the animals through the small amount I receive from advertisement revenue, too, so thank you again. I appreciate it more than I know how to say!

I also hope you enjoyed the contest that I had to guess the lambing dates. I decided to have two winners and would have loved to go on with a third, but I ran out of little camels to give away! This spring, I’ll come up with some other contest, so you’ll have another chance to win.

I also hope that those that requested a feather from Mormor received them safely. If anything happened to them in the mail (such as the feather breaking), please let me know and I can mail a new one out to you. I know many people followed him since he was just a week old chick and I wanted you to be able to have something to remember him by.

I think that’s about it for now. Check back to my web site soon, as I’ll be adding a lot more new material.

And have a wonderful, beautiful week.

Winter, already?

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I was gone for a week attending The Friskies Cat Internet Video Awards (we won- twice!) and it seemed like in that short time span we went from summer straight into winter. Or at least what passes for winter here in Arizona. It’s chilly and windy. It even rained once the other day.

This kind of weather makes the animals especially active. It’s the start of the breeding season for the Mouflon sheep and the time that a male camel would come into rut if he wasn’t castrated. But I think sometimes that no one has told Baby that he is. Him and Nessie have been running around like lunatics, taking advantage of their energy to spare now that the hot sun isn’t beating down on them. Winter is fun to see the animals so active, but I’m looking forward to spring more than anything. Especially for the lambs that come with it.

Camels enjoying the cool weather…

Octavian and the sheep have been growing their thick coats in for winter and even Dasher who didn’t get the world’s best shearing job at the start of the summer is beginning to look huge and wooly. The camels too grow in a fairly thick coat (but not as thick as you see in other parts of the world), which they’ll finish shedding out again in mid-summer.

This November I’m planning to put up some new fencing for the sheep. The pasture that they were in is now occupied by my ostrich and emu chicks, which may be temporary depending upon if it’s suitable for full grown ostriches! I would like to cross-fence a section off and have the sheep take up a large portion of the property for grazing in the back, along with a bachelor pen for Octavian to have to himself when he isn’t working on entertaining the ladies. I would like to find another ram, too, because I don’t like the idea of Octavian being by himself for most of the year. In the wild, Mouflon sheep form bachelor herds when they aren’t in rut during the breeding season. I wish I could do the fencing work myself, but the ground is just too hard and rocky.

That’s about all for now!

Summer is in full swing…

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Wow, summer is here already! Yesterday marked the very first day we broke 100 degrees here in the Sonoran desert. Good thing the camels and mouflon don’t mind! I always try and keep in mind Arizona’s hot summer when deciding what animals to add to my farm. African and middle-eastern animals do great here and are much more adapted to the higher temperatures. That not to say the camels don’t become lazy during hot mid-day and they are at their most active in the early morning and at dusk. The rest of time is reserved for laying around and digesting food. I enjoy the summer myself here, but it can be hard to handle working a lot outside during the peak hours of the day.

But what’s really special about this part of Arizona is just as it is begins to really heat up, a period of monsoon is just around the corner. Every year starting typically around July 4th weekend begins our rainy season. In fact, most of the rain we see here all year comes between July and early September. During most of this time it’s raining practically every day. It really is a magical experience and brings lots of fresh plants for the sheep and camels to graze on.

Since I haven’t been updating much on here, I’ll do a quick run-down on how some of the animals are doing…

The Sheep

- The sheep are just wonderful. This was my first breeding season and in fact the first time I’ve bred any animal on my farm. I’m very proud of the lambs I produced this spring and I already can’t wait for the 2014 spring lambs. This year, I had three babies. Two purebred European Mouflon ewes from Trivia and Livia (the sire lives on a ranch in Texas) and a 50% Mouflon hybrid from Dasher, who was bred by my Mouflon ram, Octavian. I kept the two purebred Mouflon ewes, since they are unrelated to my ram.

I was especially proud of the Mouflon hybrid that Dasher produced. She’s a strong healthy plump baby with typical Mouflon appearance, a nice solid build, a very soft deep coat and a wonderful disposition. I consider her the best of both worlds. The wild-looks and healthy genes of the Mouflon and the hand-ability and personality of her domesticated mother. However, I chose not to keep this lamb for two reasons. One, I’d prefer not to breed her back to her sire Octavian and as of right now I only have one ram, and secondly- well- I have to sell some of the lambs! In the future, I may cross again, but for now I only wanted to produce 50/50 crosses. I’m also very proud to have sold her to a loving wonderful home that plans to breed her next season to a ram they already have reserve with someone else- which is exactly what I wanted. I’m so happy to be doing what I love and being able to provide quality sheep to Arizona animal lovers. In fact, I already have interested parties who want some of my lambs in 2014 already.

The Camels

- The camels are also well. I’m still hopeful that I can have Nessie bred in the future. It’s just been difficult locating a stud camel anywhere near me and paired with the fact that I don’t own a trailer makes everything slightly harder. It would be so wonderful to experience the birthing process with Nessie and I know she would make a wonderful mother. I’ve already thought a lot about whether I would keep the baby camel or not and it would be so difficult not to. I think realistically I would keep the baby if she were a female and find him a new home if he were a male.

The Dogs

- Miskatonic isn’t doing so well. I’m starting to question at what point I should put her to sleep. It’s just extremely hard for me and I’m afraid of being selfish and hanging onto her too long. Misky will be thirteen years old next week and is my first dog. I grew up with her and it’s never going to feel the same anymore when she does pass. Right now, I have her on medication and it does seem to be improving the quality of life. I’ve been spoiling her with lots of treats, but the time she gets up seems to lessen with every passing week. I don’t know what else to say about it now, it’s hard for me to even write about. She’s such a wonderful dog and has been such a positive force in my life for so long. She’s a wonderful mother to all animals and loves life.

Since Misky used to be let outside at night and put back in the morning to act as night-time protection for the animals outside, last October knowing she was already too old to do it anymore (she sleeps inside on a posturepedic dog bed now) I sought out and purchaed an Anatolian puppy to raise as her replacement. I named her Chomby and wow she’s an impressive animal. I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with her if I were a predator! I didn’t necessarily buy her to keep human intruders away, but I can’t imagine anyone would get by with sneaking into the yard with bad intent with her around.

Chomby is absolutely perfect at her job of guarding the sheep. I went outside in the middle of the night last night to observe how she worked and I could see her mind working and calculating where to watch, what to listen to, and basically assessing every little sound and deciding what was a threat. She actively knew to take high ground to be able to see more of the field and struck a good balance between staying with the sheep and running into the field at the first sign of trouble. Chomby just turned eleven months now and is a balanced very happy go-lucky dog. I was a little hesitant at first about having a full-time outside dog, I’ve never in my life done that before, but after experiencing it this past eight months I see how content and stimulated she is.

Wow, this has gotten much longer than I ever expected! I think I’ll end it here. I’m sure I can think of more to write, but I’ll save that for another post. I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about what’s going on here at the farm. I love more than anything making videos and showing to everyone these beautiful animals, but I know sometimes it’s nice to have some written word to go along with the videos.

Have a great June!

Spring is on its way!

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I really need to try and keep up with this better. Most of the time when I think to write something is when I’m falling asleep and then by the morning I’ve either forgotten or I’m too busy with the animals to sit down and do it.

I’ll try to briefly go over some updates for those her are curious!

Last blog entry I wrote I mentioned that Pancake the cat hadn’t been neutered due to the vet’s policy of requiring vaccinations at the time of surgery. Luckily, soon after I made an appointment with another clinic and Pancake was neutered the next month. I haven’t noticed any changes in his personality and he’s just as awesome as ever. Sugar Tree and him still love to play and I hope that as Pancake matures he still retains some of his kitten-like attitude.

More recently, Trivia and Livia my two Mouflon ewes had their lambs within one week of each other. Both girls and both incredibly adorable. I really love these sheep! I’m waiting on Dasher now for the final lamb. I’m pretty sure she’s pregnant- at least I hope she’s pregnant or else I’m going to have to do something about her diet LOL. Dasher was probably bred by Octavian sometime in November, but without an actual… visual confirmation I can’t be 100% positive. Trivia and Livia were bred by an out-of-state Mouflon ram, so Octavian will have to get his chance next season. I’m really looking forward to Dasher’s possible lamb. Dasher has a wonderful personality and Octavian has fantastic genetics. I’m leaning toward bottle-raising her lamb, whether it’s an ewe or a ram.

Baby is doing really well, too. I haven’t seen him limp noticeably in about seven months. I remember a little over a year ago I really thought he could never recover. He’s doing so well. I just wish I knew medically or biologically what caused that to happen to him and perhaps even more mysteriously why it never happened to Nessie. I’ve started thinking about getting on him this Spring and seeing how he responds to that, but we’ll see how it goes.

The little Zebu bull that I got last fall and I haven’t gotten along yet. I had been taking it really slow, but I’ve seen almost no noticeable improvement. He was raised for the first six months of his life in a very large pasture with other Zebu and zero human interaction. I didn’t see this as a problem, because cattle are very intelligent and with no reason to be afraid of humans I did not expect the obstacles we’re having. It could be possible that he was traumatized before I got him, but I don’t think that I’ll ever know for sure. In any case, a friend of a friend put me in contact with someone that raises Zebu and other exotic cattle. He’s going to pick the little guy up and take him for a bit and see if he can tame him down for me. I may end up letting him keep him if he seems happier over there with other cattle, but we’ll see how it goes. I felt so bad for him alone, but having no desire to interact with me. At the very least at least he’ll get some socialization with his own kind for a couple months.

This Spring I plan to raise a variety of poultry and other birds. I haven’t had chickens in many years, since I moved and even a little before that. I didn’t raise them last Spring or the year before because I was too concerned about predator problems. Out of the three geese I did get, one was killed by a coyote (or a neighbor’s dog) and the two others I found a good home for while I prepared better for this Spring. Now I feel a lot more comfortable having my Anatolian Shepherd out there full-time and with my new fencing I’m finishing up. I know losses are still possible no matter what you do and that is the nature of raising animals (especially poultry!), but I feel much more confident and able to do my best to protect them now.

This has gotten very long! I think I’ll end it here and try to update more next week.

Happy Spring!

The business of being a vet or why Pancake didn’t get neutered…

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Pancake had an appointed to be neutered today with the Humane Society of America. I made his appointment over the phone last week. I was informed not to feed him past 6:00pm and to make sure I had him in a carrier. I even opted to listen to their automated messaged that went over pre-surgery care instructions even though I’m well experienced in the whole procedure.

This morning at 7:00am I packed Pancake up in his carrier and drove him 45 minutes to the Humane Society. The waiting room was packed, wow! I waited about 30 minutes before I got to see the receptionist and check Pancake in. I was asked if he had his vaccinations and I informed her correctly that Pancake did not have his rabies vaccine. I went on to explain that I did not believe it was safe to give such a young animal a vaccine that does not discriminate against how small an animal can be (basically both a Great Dane and a Chihuahua get the same dose, does that make sense to you?)

She then told me it was required to have him neutered today.

I asked if they could make any exceptions and explained I wasn’t sure if Pancake would ever be vaccinated against rabies. That he’s a strictly indoor cat and I did not believe in over-vaccination when there is little to no chance of Pancake contracting rabies. I did not mention the countless studies and reports of adverse reactions due to this supposedly harmless vaccine (some resulting in death later in life).

She said no and that the vaccine is completely safe and the chance of complications is very small to none. (which is completely false).

I let her know that I was never informed over the phone and that their automated message makes no mention of the fact. The Humane Society is free to make their own policies on how they want to run their clinics, but it was irritating that they didn’t make their policies known. As if every owner should be okay with blindly vaccinating and doing so unprepared, possibly uninformed, and at the time of a major stress in a pet’s life.

The receptionist replied back that the vaccination was, “only 10 dollars”. As if my pet’s health had something to do with the money! Frankly, I was very insulted, but I kept my cool and informed her that money had nothing to do with it and that if I was going to vaccinate for rabies, it would NOT be during a surgery when my cat’s immune system is ALREADY stressed and it wouldn’t be until Pancake has reached his full adult weight.

She replied, “Oh, it’s fine we do it all the time.”

Just because you do something all the time does not make it right. I told her thank you but I would take Pancake elsewhere and I turned around to see the packed waiting room was silent and everyone was watching us. Maybe they thought I was crazy for going against “the system” or maybe they were second guessing having their babies vaccinated and fixed at the very same time- something I am completely against it in any situation. Sure a lot of dogs and cats seem perfectly fine afterwards, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling terrible inside from compound of two major stresses and that doesn’t mean down the road they aren’t going to have problems from these vaccinations, including the possibility of fatal sarcomas.

I picked Pancake up and left. We will take our business somewhere that actually cares about the health of the animals they are seeing and isn’t looking to just make money with unnecessary add-ons.

I wanted to take this as an opportunity to remind everyone that reads this that just because someone works at vet clinic does not mean they know what’s best for your pet. A vet clinic is a business just like anything else and the majority of them will over-vaccinate your pet even if they really know it’s not in their best interest. On the other hand, some vets are just ignorant about the whole matter. They were taught to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, and they don’t care about the countless studies that say how damaging it is to the life of the very pet you were trying to protect.

Please protect your dog or cat from fatal sarcomas and check out these very helpful links to learn more:

Winter is coming

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Brownie the Goose has found a fantastic home and I thank everyone for the overwhelming response. I am going to miss her dearly, but I know this is the right decision. She’s going to a home with plenty of feathered friends. Geese are social animals and should never be kept alone and I couldn’t bring anymore geesy friends here until I’m at least somewhat confident that the coyotes will stay away.

Also, a big thank you for all the suggestions on where and what breed of Livestock Guardian Dog to bring to the farm. My search is ongoing and hopefully won’t be delayed. A good guardian dog should be brought home young and given time to bond with the livestock that he or she will protect, but they cannot be expected to fulfill their duties as puppies. Which basically means, the sooner I can find a quality working dog the better, because even after I bring my puppy home I’m at least six months out from having a responsible mature guardian. In the mean time, Misky is still an excellent deterrent and her judgement on where and what to bark at is fantastic! I feel relieved to know I have such a wonderful mother-dog to teach a puppy sound manners.

What else? I know I had so much to stay and now I’ve forgotten almost everything!

I’ve been asked how my little bull is doing and I think he’s settling in nicely. The reason I haven’t posted another video update for him is because I’m working on somewhat of a larger project with him and we haven’t progressed enough to complete the video just yet. When I got him, he had never been touched by humans at all except to be loaded into the trailer and delivered here. When I think of it like that we’ve made amazing progress so far, but amazing progress only means I can sit quietly with some hay and very carefully touch the top of his forehead. That’s okay though, there’s no rush. Soon I’ll clip his lead rope on and try some pressure and release with him. I know he’s not going to like that though!

It’s getting chilly out here now and I think Edie and Dasher finally realize what they were growing that thick wooly coat for. I’m pretty excited to see what they’re going to look like when it’s clipped come spring though. I think Edie will disappear into half her size! Nessie and Baby have their winter coats coming in too, but I feel like they were a little behind this year. I don’t blame them though. It went from being 90 degrees one day to 60 the next with 30 degree nights.

Meanwhile, Sugar Tree and Pancake continue to be utterly adorable…

Geese & dogs

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I’ve lost two of my geese to coyotes. I consider it ultimately my fault.

The geese are penned up at night, typically I let them in at dusk. I also let out my guardian dog, Miskatonic. She watches outside at night and sleeps in the house during the day. However, an unusual circumstances happened and I was about 30 minutes late getting home to pen them up and let Misky out to patrol. You wouldn’t think that would be such a big deal- I didn’t at first, but the coyotes must have jumped at the chance to nab them while no one was home or a short time and night was falling.

The coyotes here seem to be getting more and more bold over the last six months and on more then one occasion I’ve shined a flashlight into their eyes going out to protect the sheep and geese.

Now only Brownie is left all alone and I have the option of getting more geese as companions for her and rebuilding my flock of Sebastopol geese for breeding next spring or I can find Brownie a home where she’ll be safe. After careful thought I’ve decided to choose the latter and focus all my attention on breeding and raising my sheep. I haven’t found that geese are very well suited for my environment and consume large amounts of water and food. Maybe there’s room here in the future for a few geese or ducks, but right now the coyotes are closing in and I’m afraid any night could be Brownie’s last, penned up and Misky out or not.

Which brings me to another point. Misky is over 13 years old and there’s only so many more months she can continue to patrol the property. She used to make complete rounds checking everything out, but now her watch duty consists more of her laying on a dog bed on the porch and getting up and barking only if she hears anything. Still very effective, but I think it’s almost time to retire her and I may need to start searching for her predecessor: A livestock guardian dog from working lines that has been bred to live and work with sheep and one that is comfortable in warm weather. And it needs to be soon because I want Miskatonic to be able to raise him or her properly and I can’t expect her to be up to the task for very much longer. She certainly isn’t going to like his, though. Misky lives to guard and well… bark. She’s a typical Great Pyrenees.

As for Brownie, I want to find the perfect home for her. She won’t be available for money, but only to someone who will pen her at night, has other geese, and a livestock dog. If you’re interested in Brownie yourself, feel free to contact me and explain your situation. Don’t live near me? I will even offer to drive up to 300 miles in any direction to meet you to give her the perfect home. It’s been a joy raising her from a small gosling and she deserves it.

RIP Jim & Reuben, you were wonderful to know.

Adventures in sheeping

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“Get a goat.”

That’s something I’ve heard on more than one occasion. In fact, it seems like every hobby farmers sing the praises of goats and every one I know has them. Usually, the small pygmy or nigerian variety, but sometimes fainting goats. They climb and scale and get into everything, but they have “lots of personality” I’m told. I think it must be true though, because people sure love their goats.

But I love my sheep.

Bringing home Dasher as a tiny two week lamb was the best decision ever! It seems like goats get all the publicity as THE farm pet to have around and sheep are often looked at as nothing more than a producing animal. They’re only good to have around for their wool or to be herded by collies as a hobby. Well, I beg to differ! My sheep are great. So entertaining, low maintenance and intelligent. And unlike goats, they don’t try and eat your shoes and break your fences.

My first sheep, Dasher, was ‘just a mutt’. A mixed breed that I adopted from a farm near my home. It was partly a spontaneous and partly not. I had been wondering for a long time what people were missing with sheep and why goats were the kings and queens of the hobby farm. After spending a day meeting Dasher’s hundred or so relatives, I was hooked and I couldn’t wait to get her home. Sheep are herd animals though, so I knew I’d be back the next week to get Dasher a friend.

Or better yet, my friend and housemate did. That’s how Edie came into the picture. Edie is a purebred Shetland Sheep and must be the sweetest thing on this planet. I guess that’s pretty typical of their personalities. It can get a little annoying at time, because she always wants to be with you. Edie and Dasher grew up in the house because I was too concerned about predators outside. It was also very convenient because they both were being bottle fed small meals multiple times a day. Once they grew up, a pasture was built near the house for them and they began their happy little lives outside.

All the while I was deciding what type of Ram would head my mini herd and Octavian was purchased from California. I went to great lengths to get him based on my strong beliefs that our typical farming breeds (like Shetlands) are overbred and have lost some of their health and vigor (and probably intelligence) in man’s quest to make them the perfect little product.

But Mouflon Sheep like Octavian are a wild breed of sheep and although Octavian (for now) is very sweet, he still isn’t quite as ‘nice’ or ‘tame’ as Edie and Dasher. It’s not his fault, it’s just genetics. Personally, I don’t mind it at all. Octavian is beautiful and graceful, almost like a deer. For me, my pets don’t have to be love bugs or constantly seeking affection and attention, they just have to be themselves. However, it’s hard not to realize what a perfect combination a farm bred sheep like Edie and Dasher and a wild sheep like Octavian would be. The term is usually called heterosis, which basically means a breeding that will enhance the evolutionary fitness of an already set standard of traits. In this case, the babies of Edie and Dasher could have their set traits, their love bug nature, and tameness (through many many years of domesticated breeding) paired with Octavian’s health and wildly different genetic diversity.

As Octavian reaches mature breeding age, I’ve been searching for acceptable ewes to mate him with. Edie and Dasher were never intended for this purpose and not to offend them, but I’ve been much more picky this time! I was given a registered Blackbelly ewe, which is the most commonly crossed sheep bred to Mouflon. The result is a big impressive animal called a Corsican. However, she is skittish beyond belief and I have no hope that she’s going to tame down. Since my sheep are my pets and I visit with them in their pasture daily, it’s just too upsetting for her to constantly have a human around. I’m not talking about shying away either, I’m talking about I-Am-Scared-Out-Of-My-Mind-And-I-Want-To-Crash-Through-This-Fence. Not exactly the attitude I’d want passed on either and a very poor candidate for breeding. I’m currently looking for a new home for her with someone with bigger land and bigger breeding goals.

In the mean time, I purchased two more Mouflon. This time from Texas. And this time two girls! I am very excited that next year I may be able to offer purebred Mouflon sheep for sale in Arizona. I say may, because it depends on whether or not Octavian wants to go into rut this winter and it also depends on whether the lambs are girls or boys. I’m more likely to sell the boys and keep the girls. Once I can get a small herd together though, I hope that I can offer them to other sheep breeders in the state and genetic diversity can be created.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, sheep are great! Mouflon are beautiful! And goats are just okay… :)

Just some updates… it’s been awhile.

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Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve written in my blog. I’m not exactly sure if anyone still reads this, but I’d like to do my best to keep updating it. I love to write and it’s fun to give myself a written history of happenings around the farm to look back on. I think I’ll start by giving some quick updates on what has been going on.

- First and most importantly… it’s been a year since Baby began treatment for the weakness in his back legs and the improvement has been great. He runs short distances now and has a lot less trouble getting around. I would be lying if I didn’t consider the possibility that some of his lameness may be permanent, but I’m still hopeful that he can make a complete recovery. Right now I have him on a muscle building formula that I’m going to try for the next several months. Another blood test revealed that his Vitamin E/Selenium are still normal and everything else is in range.

- Nessie has gone into heat! My little girl has finally grown up. She seems very restless and I hope that I can find her a mate in the near future.

- Octavian is doing wonderfully. I really enjoy him. He has an air of elegance about him and has been a fantastic animal to care for. The sheep in general have been a delight to raise and I look forward to slowly continuing my goal of offering high quality Mouflon and Mouflon crosses in the future.

- I adopted a kitten in July. I didn’t think I was a cat person, but I guess I always secretly was. Pancake is a handful, that’s for sure, but what a remarkable little handful he is.

- I got a bull calf! This is very recently, as in a few days ago, so I don’t have too much to say about him. He’s a miniature zebu bull and I know he’s very pretty, but he hasn’t been handled at all and just today I finally got touch the tip of his nose for the first time.

As for what the future holds, I’m still focused on gathering a small herd of high quality sheep together. I would like to breed Nessie. And raise some chickens for eggs, but that may wait until the spring.

Those are the main updates that I can think of. If anything else comes to mind I’ll make a separate entry.