Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ready for Breeding Season

We finished hoof trimming and worming the ewe flock this morning! We started last Monday, but had to stop early when Garrett & Rayna arrived to pick up his ewes. Kathy Davidson also came over with BFL ewe lambs for Garrett, they were gorgeous! So it was a welcome interruption from hoof trimming.

This morning we finished off the last four ewes.This is the first time I've had to trim all the hooves myself. Something changed when we built the pole building - or was it when we started supplementing with some nice alfalfa hay? For some reason, the hooves in my flock are growing like wild fire. I used to get by with having them trimmed at shearing - once a year, that was it. But this year they were done at shearing (end of February) and needed it again by mid-May! And they surely needed it again this fall. Maybe it's the fact that we have had plenty of rain this year...

Anyway, the ewes' hooves are trimmed and I decided to worm them while we were at it. We have lots of big round tummies around here. I started thinking maybe that was a sign of worms. I know the FAMACHA test is only for the blood sucking worms, so there could be others in residence even if the mucus membranes are pink. My lambs have never been wormed in their lives and the ewes were only wormed in the lambing jugs, so I thought, what the heck, I'll give them a dose of Prohibit (levamisole) and they should be all set for breeding season this year. It feels so good to know they are done!

I haven't mentioned this to Stan yet, but now we should tip the BFL rams and do their hooves too. Dougal must be at least 175 pounds. We still have 10 ram lambs in residence, but five will go for slaughter this fall, so no need to do their hooves or worm them.

I will keep two polled ram lambs (our still unnamed Ile de France and Socks, a Shetland Mule wether), and three very nice looking horned Shetland ram lambs -- a shaela, fawn and moorit smirslet out of Windswept Boggart (our dearly departed prize winning ram). They are just too nice to send to slaughter!This decision means I could end up running three ram pens this winter and one ewe pen. I know, that's crazy! But I don't want to breed my ewe lambs, and I don't the little polled boys getting hurt with the horned boys. I may be able to house the little polled guys with the BFL rams. I tried it for a while last week and they seemed to be fine until I saw Dougal pummel the Ile de France against a fence. We'll just have to wait and see how things go this winter.
In the meantime, if anyone needs a horned Shetland ram lamb, let me know. I would be happy to get creative with ways to move them out or loan them out. :-)

I also finished shearing Cora a couple days ago. She went into the rise after her bout with mastitis in late July. I rooed a lot of her neck/chest wool, but then I had to get out the handshears to complete the job. Unfortunately, she got tired of it and walked off to graze when I was this far along...
She looked like that for a couple weeks until I seized the opportunity to finish her up last Thursday morning. I think she looks great now. And the fleece that I got from her is really nice. I've decided to retain her (and her 9-year-old dam with a micron of 25) after all. She's got one good side to her bag. If I have to bottle feed a twin next spring, I can do it.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for having us Becky, I had a blast :) Cora looks beautiful :) Don't forget you're keeping that gorgeous natural colored bfl/shetland mule boy! Cuz I might cry if you don't! :)

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  2. Lovely pictures! It is a great feeling to get all the hoof trimming and worming out of the way. I'll be doing most of mine later this week...not looking forward to it. I would guess the combination of the good alfalfa and wet weather caused your sheepie hooves to grow more than usual. I have one Shetland ewe who has only one side of her udder that is functional. She raises twins every year. I have noticed when they are about five or six weeks old, that one will start to get 'crowded out', so I start supplementing a little grain to that lamb at that point. So far though, I've never had to bottle feed.
    Tammy

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  3. Unfortunately, I think that nice natural colored 3/4 BFL ram lamb is going too Rayna. :-( I had him on display this past weekend hoping to place him in a fiber flock, but no luck. If there's any room at your place for him to stay, we could get creative. ;-)

    Thanks for telling me about your ewe Tammy. You've given me hope that Cora will be able to raise lambs still. She's only two years old, super friendly and her fleece is so nice, it's a shame to cull her. Good luck with your hoof trimming this week.

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