Friday, October 14, 2011

"Eliminating the Effects of Footrot on Sheep Flocks in the Northeast"

How did I become a participant in this project: For about 3 years I have had issues with my goats hooves and my Cormo/Olde English Babydoll Southdown's hooves and a couple of lambs (lambs were treated and were fine after 1 application of store bought soluctions). There was more work involved with trimming hooves and applying store bought solutions that was not curing the adults with hoof issues.

I e-mailed Dr. Anne Lichtenwalner, from the University of Maine and she sent me to Richard Brzozowski, PH.D., Extension Educator, Agriculture, Cumberland County. After speaking with both of them, my understanding of this hoof issue is that the medicines we are using are not strong enough and we also need to rotate pastures where this "organism" is alive. Two weeks in each pasture, using 3 different pasture areas in treatment is important - so this organism will die? I believe I was also told all pastures have this organism. So I would think maybe spring and fall have our animals walk thru a footbath of Zinc Sulfate and detergent.

Richard asked me if I was interested in being a participant of the above project. Of course I said yes and he sent me all the paperwork, which I immediately filled out and he quickly called me back and explained the month long protocol of the project, which started October 5, 2011 at my farm:

Day 1 was very exciting. Tom, Richard and myself set up panels for all my sheep & goats, then used Famacha testing to check parasite level (none of my Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown sheep or Angora Goats needed to be medicated - amazing and I was going to worm them all)! This is another important study both Richard and Tom have been working on (medicate when necessary so animals to not become immune to medicines).

Richard and Tom set up machine to gently tip all my animals so their hooves could be trimmed and evaluated. I was taught how to evaluate and how to better trim their hooves - to look out for pockets and trim correctly to eliminate them. Again my sheep had "very little hoof growth, which all members of this team found really amazing and only a couple had pockets. Then each animal stepped into a 20% Zinc Sulfate solution for 10 minutes and Anne and Caitlin then drew blood for DNA to see if there are predictive markers of footrot resistance.

Members of this team were Dr. Thomas Settlemire, retired from the University of Bowdoin College, Dr. Anne Lichtenwalner of the University of Maine, Richard Brzozowski, PH.D., Extension Educator, Agriculture, Cumberland County, and Caitlin Minutolo, University of Maine (I believe an intern), and of course me Betty Stover, Shepardess, mom, fiber artist, apartment landlord, dog breeder, (I have more titles than they do. Am I bragging or what?).

We ended up with my Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown ram, Churchhill, with a hoof infection (he was not limping and I had no idea he had this infection - his pen is small compared to the pasture and when it rains it is very moist in this pen - maybe a top coat of gravel?), my Cormo/Babydoll cross, Whitety had scald and one of my Angora Goat does had footrot. Both of the sheep are now is a different pen together and I was told to spray his hoof in 2 days, which my husband did for me.

Day 7: October 12, 2011, 2 affected sheep and goat sent thru footbath.

Will Post Day 14 around October 19.

Thank you so much Tom, Dick, Anne and Caitlin. You don't know how important it is for me to have healthy animals to share with friends and know I am selling healthy animals. I would love to see more local Maine vets involved in this program so we all get educated in this area of HOOF health. Then again I am sure you will be sharing this study with all Maine Farmers/Vets once it is completed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown Sheep - Halter Training

This white wether lamb is a Babydoll/Romney and the black lamb is an Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown sheep. We have just started halter training. What a lot of fun. My little guy Zoolou the white wether likes to lay down. Rachael is training Bagara who liked to hop around the place. I need someone to take pictures of all this action. Sunday they both walked around so much better. If the weather permits, we will work with them again at 5 pm. Knitting & fiber fun at 6 pm here at Spinnakees Fiber Farm in Augusta.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown ram lambs

These 2 beautiful Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown rams are for sale. I love their stocky little bodies and triangler heads. One one of them has brown patches on his head and legs. It's funny how the boys follow each other around. Last night they were all raising cain.

Spinnakees Fiber Farm - Natural fiber verses Synthetic fiber

Synthetic: Man made, not genuine, artifical, devised! Hmmmm!

Wool: The dense, soft, often curly hair forming the coat of sheep and certain other animals. I can remember my mother teaching me to knit. I loved the creativity of making dolls clothes & headbands. I remember never finishing a pair of mittens because I did not like the feel of synthetic yarn.

Angora: Long silky hair from Angora rabbits. When I started rasising Angora rabbits and made a pair of gloves I had no problem finishing them! I was hooked. I'll let you in on a little secret. Years ago, before I had my critters, I crocheted a blanket using synethetic yarn and wrapped it with raw Angora and I still use it today.

From there I started raising Angora goats then a number of years later sheep. Once you work with a quality wool blend there is no going back.

This is my newer blend of "Babydoll" & Angora. What a wonderful yarn. It is called a light Worseted weight yarn. Is it definately lighter but has wonderful volume. Hummmm. Use it in the fall and spring?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bond Issue LD 979 in Appropriations Committee

This is the bond issue for the proposed combined Plant and Animal Diagnostic Lab. The purpose of this bond is to support building a new, biosecure lab at University of Maine to improve what our currently separate plant and animal diagnostic labs now do. I would allow our animal lab to help large animal producers (like dairy/beef farmers and also horse/llama owners) and vets to diagnose diseases by performing diagnostic post-mortem exams on animals. It would also offer highly effective containment, helping protect people, plants and other animals against disease.

Our team here at UMaine Orono works with many types of agricultural producers all over the state. We offer services that aren't available elsewhere, and help the veterinary profession but also the farmers directly via service, education and consultation. I hope you'll be able to mention our connection over rabbit biosecurity, and the work we are doing with the sheep industry (

contacting your legislators about our Bond issue (LD 979) which is now in the Appropriations Committee.

Your legislator on the committee would be Senator Roger Katz at 207-622-9921 ( If you could phone or email and tell them you are a farmer, state your support and perhaps give a quick summary/narrate something about our contact or your experience with our lab/my speaking, it would greatly help our chances.

I look forward to visiting your farm (5-20... is that still good with you?) and seeing you at Fiber Frolic. Thanks! Anne

Anne Lichtenwalner DVM PhD
Assistant Professor

University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Dept. of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Director, University of Maine
Animal Health Laboratory

5735 Hitchner Hall, Room 136
Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 04469

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

German Angora Rabbits at Spinnakees Fiber Farm

This is Olga.

I started clipping her and realized I needed a picture first. So you can see some of her beautiful fiber kind of placed on top of her. Oh well. She gave me 13 oz of prime and 1+ oz of seconds and I don't keep 3rds. Can you image 13 oz consistantly every 3 months? I have been feeding her a cup of Poulin grain daily with a large handful of local hay every evening. I just introduced Dr. Cheeke's YQ+ to all of my German Angora's diet. It is for Gut and Respiratory Health! I'm also hoping to see a difference in fiber production. Where Olga gives me a perfect 13 oz (my lucky number) I'm wondering will I get more? I do have a young buck who is less than a year and was told to put him on the YQ+ and he should have no problem being registered next time I try. Will keep you posted as he was 5 grams short!!!

This is Olga nude. Do you think she would make Playboy centerfold?

I went to our annual IAGARB (International Association of German Angora Breeders) meeting this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I was taking about 3 hours to shear my rabbits and by watching Rosalie and Erin demonstrating new approaches I took a little over 1 hour to trim a rabbit yesterday! Ya!! Also, thank you Sheri for helping to adjust my electric clippers. So much easier shearing these guys with my Aesculap clippers for rabbits.

This is Olga not sure which way to go!

I also received a beautiful lead flower vase for highest producing fiber doe, which was Tasha, at the show. I can't wait to breed her as she is a beautful German Angora. I'll post a picture when she is in full coat and may one nude, if she isn't too shy!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Olde English "Babydoll" Sheep Shearer

This is Gwen Hinman shearing one of my Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown Sheep. Gwen is a tiny thing and full of energy and kindness. After she sheared my sheep she held them so I could give them each an injection of Ivermectin and an amount of pour on to be sure they have no bugs or parisites inside or out. The rest of the year I'll use my handy dandy microscope to keep track of intestinal parisites. Gwen then put the fleece on my shearing table (I use it for my goats when clipping them, another handy dandy contraption) that I put an old fence gate on to shake out my fleeces. I had no time to skirt my fleeces as she was so quick. The fleeces came off in a blanket, which is not easy with Southdowns as it is a very springy short fibered fleece. When you look at the fleece lenght it is about 2" long and when you pull it between your fingers it is about 3" long. Perfect if you spin using the double drafting method as this wonderful, soft fleece needs less twist to spin easily. It took Gwen about an hour and a half to shear them, and if my sheep had been more cooperative (I had them fenced in beside my shearing room to make sure they were dry and easily accessible to us!) she would have been done sooner. What a wonderful feeling to see all of your fleeces bagged and ready to clean and ship off either to a spinner or put into roving so I or another spinner can use this wonderful fiber. I put my lamb fleeces into roving so spinners and felters get the softest fiber. Tomorrow I start the cleaning process. Will take a picture to share of my dirty fleeces maybe tomorrow? Of course when running a farm that could also change. One thing never changes - Animals need to be feed each day about the same time. I go up the hill to my barn twice a day to make sure everyone is fine and clean stalls and feed all the critters. If a sheep is in labor, I make many trips or take my knitting and a pillow and wear my warm, zippered winter coverup. One of my family members usually brings me something hot to drink. Need to be warm and happy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spinnakees Fiber Farms' "Primitive Lavanda Stuffed Wool Bunny"

Pattern, Lavander, Pearl Cotton, Wool Stuffing from my sheep, and a sharp heavier needle.

This primitive bunny is about 10" tall and made from wool cloth. I used clean wool scrapes from my Olde English "Babydoll" sheep for stuffing and about 1/2 oz of Lavender buds.

As I blanket stitched (I used pearl cotton, which has a nice sheen to it) around this bunny I filled it with the stuffing, which made stuffing it so much easier.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spinnakees Fiber Farm purchased an amazing cake from Kennebec Custom Cakes

Jessie at her Baby Shower. Jessica her best friend writting down gifts and friends names.

Cake from Kennebec Custom Cakes in Augusta, Maine. The cupcakes had minature grasshoppers on them.

This cake was so tasty, and the frosting was just right. I had to call Jessie and ask for her to same me a "few" slices. Of course for the rest of the family not for me!

Hard to telling with the lighting, but the frosting was a light green.

Spinnakees Fiber Farm's Jersey Woolys

This is Daniel feeding one of our Jersey Woolys. He is such a cutie and loves a pat, his hay and food. I use the little poopies in my plant pots for fertilizer. I have 2 for sale if you know anyone looking for a great pet.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spinnakees Fiber Farm

This is Unise with her lamb, Ursala. She is starting to gain weight and looks like she will have a nice blocky "Babydoll" type body. I love the ears! Will have lambs for sale this summer. This is our first lamb! She is really sweet and mom is great. Had them both out yesterday checking everything out. Last years lambs were scared of her and kept their distants. Interesting.

Spinnakees Fiber Farm "Lavanda Pom Pets" and Easter Baskets from roving!

These are so much fun to make. The middle "Lavanda Pom Pet" is suppose to be a Sheep. I'm working on another and hopefully it will look less primitive! I crocheted the 2 outside baskets and knit the middle one. The 2 outside ones have little handles. I hope to sell these at Kennebec River Artisans in Hallowell, Maine.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Olde English "Babydoll" Southdowns

March 13, 2011, Unise of Spinnakees' Fiber Farm had a ewe lamb. This is a picture of moma talking and cleaning her baby, and baby talking to moma!

First drink, have to have that colostrum to get all the nutrients to survive! She was up and walking in a few minutes. Healthy baby!

Of course she looked away when I took her picture.
Taking a break. She weights 2 1/2 pounds!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spinnakees' Fiber Farm "Slippas"

One slippa finished and the other is almost done. I love this "Babydoll"/Angora worsted weight yarn. I call it watermellon! Yum! Okay back to knitting and not eating. I worked alot on my website today and also with Dell, which helped the speed of my computer. Thank you lord!

With all this rain I had to save my chickens from their terrible plight. I had over 8" of rain in my barn. My chickens were on everything available. Half of them are in my cellar this evening. I was worried they would freeze. So much for knitting. I plan on at least finishing the last "slippa" tonight before I fall asleep. Next pair, as I promised, will have Mohair decorating them. I'll have "Fairy Slippas". Good nite!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spinnakees Fiber Farm "Slippas"

Kelly Corbet of Romney Ridge Farm use to publish a cute flyer "We Fiber Folk". In this publication I gave her a pattern "Slippas". This was to be used with a bulky homespun. If using worseted weight, which I am, you need to either change needle size or cast on more stitches. If you are interested in knitting these "Slippas" you can either purchase the pattern from me, or buy a skein of my "Babydoll"/bunny from and I will include the pattern, if you request it.

The above yarn is very soft and I am using one strand, if you want a more durable slipper use 2 strands.

I had to work on my income taxes yesterday so "no knitting". This am I have all the ridges done for the bottom of my slipper. Now to start the decreases.

This picture shows the bottom ridges of foot and decreases to top of slipper. My sheepees think this is the best pattern to show off their wool. Tune in later for finished "Slippas".

Next pair of "Slippas" I plan on using some of my goats Mohair around the cuff and maybe a little in the bottom for strength & to give them a primitive look. This is a picture of Birdy (front right), Letty (front left) and Letitia (in the back peeking over).
They all give me beautiful Mohair!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spinnakees Fiber Farm's Zenyatta - What a beautiful Keeshonden. Project: Farm helment.

This is Zenyatta, my 9 month old Keeshonden pup. My Angora goats were wondering what she was doing in the front yard with me. My 2 older Keeshonden disappeared as they fear the sheep and goats. Not Zenyatta, she really loves all of my critters and is my constant companion. Lots of energy and very intelligent.
Hum, next project? How about a women's helmet using finger weight yarn from my Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown Sheep blended with Angora and Mohair? My mom made a couple helmets for the boys and used sports weight yarn from Spinnakees Fiber Farm. That yarn was wool and mohair. The pattern surprised me as it turned out to feel like Bulky and they were big. So I'm going to use size 9, 14" long circular needles (1 1/2 sizes smaller) and the fingering yarn. This might be a nice, light weight farm hat - spring or fall. Hope to have a picture of the finished project in a few days. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spinnakees Fiber Farm making Wool Cloth easily

I made this embrodiery case out of store bought wool, pearl cotton, beads, and dyed wool pieces. I decided to make my own wool cloth to make an embrodiery case from Spinnakees Fiber. This is a process, but worth the effort!

This is the inside of the case layed open.

First lay down your bubble wrap. I used a piece about 16" x 20". I then placed a piece of cotton on top of the bubble wrap. I then teased apart roving and lay it in one layer across the cotton cloth filling it. Do this first vertically then horizontally. About 6 layers.

Take a spray bottle full of water and wet your fiber throughly, then place another piece of cotton cloth the same size over the fiber, and then another piece of bubble wrap on top of the cloth.

I rolled up the layers and put elastics about every 2". Then the works begins! Roll it on your table about 100 times the first time. Then take elastics off, unrole it and see how much it has felted. Roll it back up from the side and then roll it back and forth about 50 times and check it again for felting.

This is wool cloth I have felted and wool rolled into a roll to be felted. Shultz is a Spinnakees' Farm German Angora, who is taking a break. Shultz donated his fiber for one side of the cloth making a beautiful soft surface.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Easy Mitten Pattern available soon

The smallest pair of mittens can be tucked into the cuff of a warm jacket. I also crocheted a simple chain and inserted in at top of cuff to be tightened to keep out the snow and I think it adds character to this pair of mittens. Might be cute for larger pairs too. I think all three pairs could be either for a male or female.

I used 2 skeins of Maine worsted weight yarn: 4 oz/250 yards each. I still have 2 oz left to make a simple hat?

I have this yarn and will post it for sale soon on my website. Kelly of Romney Ridge Farm has this yarn for sale now. After I make adjustments to my mother's old mitten pattern I'll have the pattern forsale also. Her pattern tapered the tops of the mittens nicely and had a left and right mitten. I like the easier pattern of rounded tops and the thumbs are either right or left. Should be a nice pattern for beginners or for someone as busy as I am!

Friday, January 21, 2011

2 Skeins of yarn: 3 mittens using different sized needles, but not changing count of stitches

On left mitten I have 10 stitches on yarn holder. On back 2 needles I have picked up 2 stitches on each needle.

Working on thumb & picking up stitches on back of thumb: On right mitten I knit the first 2 stitches together on one needle then knit the next 2 stitches together onto the first needle and then took 2 stitches off the holder and knit them onto the 1st needle (total of 4 stitches). I then took 4 more stitches off the yarn holder and knit them onto the 2nd needle and then took the last 4 stitches off the yarn holder and knit them onto the 3rd needle. Continue knitting in the round until thumb is at desired length.

I'm on my 3rd pair of mittens using the 2 skeins of yarn I started with. Two skeins each: 250 yards/4 oz. I have 2 oz left after 3 pairs of mittens.

Planning to make a simple rolled hat out of remaining yarn and maybe make it a "kitten" hat with ears, eyes and whiskers. Will post when done!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Old Fashion Mittens

These mittens can be worn on either hand. I love the rounded tops and the simple pattern. I used size 6 double pointed needles. I'm only changing needle size to change size of mitten. Size 6 for adult, Size 5 for teen and Size 4 for youth. Adjust length of thumb and mitten for size and no need to change number of stitches used. I made a baby sweater that did the same so why not our favorite patterns.
This shows the inside of the mitten. I carried the white yarn on the backside of the blue stitch until the end of the row and then let it hang until the next 4th row.

This is the second pair of mittens out of the same 2 skeins I started with. I am using size 5 double pointed needles. I hope to have enough yarn left to make a third pair using size 4 double pointed needles.