Leaving tonight for California…

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Only 12 more hours until I leave for California to pick up Octavian. Leaving around midnight, I should be there to get him first thing in the morning. I’m very excited to meet him and see how he acts compared to Dasher and Edie. I’m going to try and make a video blog of my trip, but we’ll see how it goes. In any case, I’ll definitely have something to post on Friday when I return.

I’m a little nervous because I found out that the extra large dog crate I bought doesn’t fit in my car and I’m not too sure if Octavian will fit in a smaller one. My car is a hatchback, so I improvised with some netting to prevent him from coming over to the driver’s side and I also affixed my folded down seats with a tarp and blankets. I’m driving with a friend though, so I’m a little relieved that I’ll have someone to sheep wrangle, if Octavian is afraid. I know when I transported Dasher and Edie in my car they were perfectly fine in my hatchback with no crate. Other than that, I am super excited and ready to hit the road tonight!

Camels 101

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The second part in my series of videos on how I care for and raise my animals. I really enjoyed making this one and I hope it’s informative without being too boring. Baby and Nessie were wonderful as always and I think they enjoyed all the attention. The video is far from being perfect, but I think this was an important video to make; there is just not enough information available on basic camel care in the english speaking world that’s visual and not out of a big boring textbook. :)

There is a few points I’d like to clarify that maybe were not so obvious in the video, but I can only remember two of them!

- In the video I mentioned that camels have no upper top teeth- just a hard pallet. This could be taken to mean they have NO upper teeth at all, but what I was trying to say is they have no upper FRONT teeth. They do, however, have teeth in the back.

- It’s dangerous to get in-between or even stand near two camels that are quarreling over something. If you ever find yourself in that situation, it’s much safer to get yourself on the opposite side of the fence and not stand around and talk about it like I did.

If there’s anything else that was unclear or you have any further questions about anything about camels ever, feel free to contact me.

Enjoy the video!

Got a new pic of Octavian!

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Octavian

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I have something very special to write about today.

At the end of this month I’ll be driving to California to pick up a sheep.

Photo by Dave Pape

Photo by Dave Pape (Creative Commons)

But not just any sheep… a beautiful Mouflon ram.

The Mouflon is believed to be the ‘wild’ ancestor of all domesticated sheep. As I understand it, originally these sheep were found in the mountainous regions of Anatolia and then were introduced to the Greek islands, eventually ending up in continental Europe. Today, wild Moulfon can be found in Iraq and Iran. They’re most distinguishable feature is their large impressive horns. Which unfortunately means these animals are plentiful here in the United States on game ranches, where people pay to go ‘hunt’ one down.

When I decided to raise sheep, I knew I wanted a ram that could bring in a fresh dose of vigor to his babies. Comparing a Mouflon to a domesticated sheep, is like comparing a wolf to a German Shepherd. Most people know that German Shepherds are overbred, which has caused the breed to suffer. The same thing is true with America’s stock bred sheep. But Mouflons are extremely disease resistant with little problems with parasites, in fact they have little health problems at all. They’ve never been farmed industrially and they’ve been allowed to retain their natural vitality.

And it doesn’t hurt that they’re gorgeous, too.

My intentions are to breed Mouflon hybrids. A cross between my purebred Mouflon and domesticated ewes. The resulting babies will retain some of the desirable domesticated qualities of their moms from centuries of farm use, but will also receive a healthy vigorous set of genes courtesy of dad. Some day, I’ll probably get a Mouflon ewe too, but for now these crosses will be very valuable to sheep farmers who want to liven up their livestock.

So why am I driving all the way to California?

Well, that’s the closest place I could find purebred Mouflons! I’m very excited. I reserved my boy months ago and I’ve been receiving pictures of him as he grows. He’s being bottle fed right now, because Mouflon can be very skittish if not handled regularly from a lamb.

Look at this baby picture of him from Feb. 29th! *melts* What a cutie!

His name is Octavian, btw. I didn’t name him, the breeder did. He said I was welcome to change it, but I just think such a regal name suits such a majestic animal.

I don’t have an exact date yet of when I’m leaving, but I’m aiming for the night of June 19th. It should only take me about 7 hours to get there, so not too long of a trip. I’m going to be doing a video blog-style of my adventure, so in a way you’ll get to pick him up with me!

Sooo excited just typing about this! I can’t wait for him to meet Dasher and Edie!

A very bad dog…

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Cantaloupe, the Italian Greyhound loves to steal things off my friend’s desk. You could walk out of the bedroom for a minute and something else would disappear. It didn’t matter what it was, she’d take it the second you shut the door. It’s almost like magic. It got me wondering how exactly she gets up there and how she chooses what she steals, so I decided to start filming! I left the camera on a tripod pointed at the desk and a week later these are my results of Cantaloupe’s exploits. All edited down to a 1 minute video. Enjoy this very naughty dog :)

Cantaloupe belongs to my housemate and is a 2 year old Italian Greyhound. She was rescued when she was a puppy from a bad situation. I’m very glad to say that she found a home with my friend and will have many long happy years of thievery in her future.

The lambs having fun

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A completion of Edie and Dasher’s thrilling sofa jumping escapades. Watch as they scale the couch with triumph becoming more and more daring which each death-defying leap. Marvel as they reach their breaking point, locking heads in an epic battle of will over a small blanket. Who will be victorious? I will just tell you. It was Edie. With an unprecedented coup de grace to Dasher’s back end.

So, like, basically, the lambs use the couch like a playground :) It is cute.

New web site

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If you regularly come to camelsandfriends.com to read this blog you may have noticed a change tonight! I’ve been up late working on a new web site with more organized information about the gang, as well as a photo gallery and more. Now when you visit camelsandfriends.com you’ll be directed to the main web site. To access the blog, you can click on it through the menu or read it directly at http://www.restarea1mile.com/blog (which is my blanket URL).

The web site isn’t completely finished yet, but I couldn’t wait and uploaded it anyway. I still need to finish writing a few more bios on the animals and I’ve got lots more photos to add! I hope you enjoy what I’ve done so far and I look forward to updating it.

Behind the scenes

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Bad Dog

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Today a production crew for the Animal Planet show, “Bad Dog”, came out and filmed the camels for the day. They were here from 9:30am-7:30pm for a segment that will only be 5-8 minutes long- crazy! It was a unique experience, though totally exhausting. The focus was mainly on some of the behaviors Baby displayed when he was going through adolescence and before his castration. I think (and hopefully) they keep it pretty light-hearted, cause Baby is really a fantastically well-mannered camel.

I was so proud of him today. He behaved perfectly for the camera and was very patient with the constant re-shoots. Maybe one day Baby can be in a movie, because I think he would be fantastic! I’m probably partial though.

It will be exciting to see Baby on Animal Planet this fall and I’ll update everyone as soon as they know an airing date. My friend and I also shot some “behind the scenes” footage of the day and I’ll share some of that soon. For now, I didn’t realize I could be this tired. But I guess long hours in over 100 degree weather will do that to you.

Goodnight, internet.

For more of Baby, check out the camels playlist here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXiR-QP0ju8&list=PL9850CDF25B2CEE04&feature=plpp_play_all

Baby bird

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Edie the lamb meets a newly born baby bird and decides to try nibbling on his super soft downy feathers… I think the baby bird was more interested in Edie feeding her though and opened his mouth expectantly for food. I’m not quite sure Edie got the message though and the humans had to take over the task.

This baby bird was found and brought in to the vet clinic a friend of mine works at. They require an enormous amount of work to care for and feed, so good thing they did! Luckily, this little boy (or girl!) is a fledgling (has feathers) and has a pretty darn good chance of surviving now that he’s receiving proper care. My friend is a vet tech and both her and I have worked with a licensed wildlife rehabilitated for four years. Please, if you find a baby bird, seek experienced help or the baby may not survive. They may be unbearably cute, but it would be heart breaking to lose one. Which unfortunately does happen sometimes even with the best of care. I’ll post an update on this little guy, but we’re doing everything we can to make sure he grows up healthy and able to be returned to the wild.