Goats like to eat Christmas trees. Since Icelandic sheep are a bit goat-like in their habits, we thought the girls at my place might like a bit of fresh green. Well, it was a hit. They nibbled; they rubbed their heads on the pine needles; they tossed the tree with their horns.... while we humans had tea, my Turkish savory cookies and Louie's amazing biscotti.
Winter must be boring for the sheep: No vegetation to graze,
and hay every day - kind of like eating the same frozen dinner twice a day every day for the next five months. How does that grab you? So I give them treats several times a week: Cut-up carrots and carrot tops, cabbage, dandelion greens and kale. Not too much kale because it suppresses iodine in their bodies and can lead to thyroid problems. They also get an herbal tonic from Molly's Herbals, mixed with a bit of soybean meal or oats, which they love. Sometimes I mix black walnut hull and garlic into it, to add extra "oompfh!" for deworming.
I have learned about Icelandic nutrition since those first overwhelming days, when I was ready to take them back to their original farm, or if the humans there said "no", take myself to the funny farm.
Earlier this week, Roberta came and helped me trim Marsha's nails. You have to flip the sheep on her back first. Well, I had a heck of a time with Marsha for some reason: I turned her head toward her flank, rested her on my leg, put my hand on her hip and pressed down and back. And pressed down and back. And pressed down and back. And we both stood there and wondered what the heck was this about.
Then I tried the sheep chair. This is a contraption that is meant to put a sheep on its back and trim nails, do whatever, without needing two people. So I backed Marsha up to the chair, pressed down on her butt while lifting under her chin. She leaned forward and said "You're funny!" Next, I hoisted the sheep chair over the fence and threw it against a tree and called Roberta. The sheep chair is by the tree still. Probably froze to the ground by now, and will be there until next spring. Maybe I'll sit in it on a sunny winter day.
Dr Schmidt is coming up to Roberta's farm tomorrow to do an ultrasound on her sheep -- she is curious to know if the ewes
are pregnant. Glen, her castrated ram whose castration didn't quite take, might have been busy. I will call Dr. Schmidt's office to see what he charges for the ultrasound, since I am just a couple of miles up the hill from Roberta. I would love to know if we are going to have Coffee's children running around next spring.