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: http://restarea1mile.com/camelsandfriends/jackson.html
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 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.
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.