27 February 2010

For everyone who knows us - Christiane has finally found a new dog !

Fabrice's aunt Christiane is someone with special needs but she lives on her own and manages well with us close by to help her with her daily traumas.

She'd had a lovely dog called Rhapsy for as long as I've know her but unfortunately, Rhapsy died recently at the ripe old age of nineteen. She still has her other dog Titino who is almost eighteen and completely blind and Christiane realises that one day he'll die too. Getting another dog for her has been a priority for us for the past month and we've been ringing round animal refuges, looking at ads in the local papers and on the internet and presenting her with canine options - none of which have been suitable.

Christiane loves our four Dachshunds and they are exactly the right kind of dog for her - small enough to be lifted up and cuddled, loyal, sociable and interesting and they tend not to wander off and don't need a tremendous amount of exercise. They are also good house dogs who prefer to live with someone who is around all day and they are good little watchdogs. For all of those reasons, Christiane decided that she wanted a Dachshund like ours.

We intend one day to breed from one or two of our Dachshunds but the little ones are only a year old and they're still far too young to have pups so we had a look on the 'net and there were no pups available from any of the breeders.

Christiane was becoming more and more impatient and just as we were beginning to despair, we were really lucky to find this little pup who's father is a Dachshund and her mother a small Spaniel. She looks very like a Dachshund and got a very warm welcome from our four when she was introduced to them yesterday !
She is a very lucky little dog to have Christiane to love her and I hope both of them have a wonderful long friendship together.

12 February 2010

Cameroon sheep cross lambing is in progress !

I've taken a break from blogging for a while to concentrate on other things but I can't resist showing you some photos of some of our lambs born this month. They are from our sheep who are a mixed bunch of "normal" girls crossed with our Cameroon ram. We decided to try this cross because last year we had a surprise lamb who was a Cameroon cross and he grew fast and was extremely hardy - out in all weathers yet big boned and heavy like his mother. This might not be the most appropriate time to say this but the meat was wonderful !

That's him in the middle of the photo at about five months. His sire is the brown strange looking horned ram top left. We inherited most of our sheep from Fabrice's family and we kept a small herd going of about thirty through a period of some very low lamb prices. We've chosen new rams to improve the conformation and increase the hardiness of the flock as the summer grass has been affected by the droughts we've been having for the past few years and winters seem to be getting colder.

Now our lamb is selling well locally and it's very nice when the work involved in keeping them is rewarded with a decent regular income.

We've had the Cameroon sheep for a few years. They're easy to manage, out in all weathers and graze contentedly where there doesn't seem to be a lot for them to eat. We decided to leave the Cameroon ram with all the ewes.

Unfortunately, we have Blue Tongue disease in France and were obliged to have our sheep vaccinated early in their pregnancy. We've had a lot of miscarriages, so many of our ewes aren't going to have lambs at what is (for us) the best time of the year when they are inside on straw because of the weather and easy to keep an eye on.

So far we've had six lambs, all easy births, all fine healthy lambs who fed easily and quickly as soon as they were on their feet but all singles - which is a bit of disappointment because we normally have a lot of twins and sometimes even triplets. Still, the lambs are beautiful chunky wee things and we should have some more later on in the season.