Saturday, November 29, 2008

Can't Wait for Thanksgiving Weekend!

This is the big weekend at Wild Rose Farm. We put the rams in with the ewes on Thanksgiving weekend and the lambs arrive in late April through early May in the warm weather. First we had to bring the lambs up to the barn and sort a few of them out and then return them safely to the other side of the fence where the rams won't get to them. Here they are trailing back to their paddock ....... this is the first time we've moved them without an older ewe leading them, so they need a follower sweeping behind, encouraging them along (camera conveniently in hand). Then we separated out the Dorset ewes and crossbred ewes to go in with our Dorset ram. They are in the front field and this ram is wearing a marking harness with a black crayon. When he breeds a ewe, she gets a black swipe on her backend. This way we know on which day each ewe has been bred and we can estimate her delivery date. The Dorset ram is shown here angling up to his second interest of the season, Dorset ewe #114. He already spent the first 2 hours with crossbred ewe #93 ....... things can get pretty busy some days!

Next we put our Rambouillet ram in with the Rambouillet ewes. He is wearing a marking harness with a yellow crayon. We usually use a green crayon which is easier to see, but we didn't have one today when I put the harnesses together, so we'll have to look very closely to see his mark. The rams and their respective ewes are in totally separate pastures so that we can maintain registered stock. You can never trust the rams, so note the wary eye kept on the ram as we lead the group back to their pasture. Yours truly follows with camera and pitchfork, if needed! For right now, he is newly distracted by his harem of ewes and he immediately started to get to work with #317!

Oh yes ---- the ewes are marked on the right hip with their ear tag numbers so that you can see at a distance (and in twilight after work) who has been marked by the ram. Ever try to read a 1" ear tag on a moving sheep? We use a spray paint specifically formulated to scour out of the wool. In fact, the numbers are hard to read after a couple of weeks in the weather.

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