Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Looking Good

Sunday we finished readying the new pens for sheep, divided the ewes into their groups and introduced the rams late in the afternoon.

So far everything is working very well.  We have automatic waterers in most pens.  We only have to carry buckets to three groups and they are the smallest and so have the least water consumption.  I like these black water troughs from Tractor Supply.  They are large enough to allow 2-3 animals to drink at once but fairly shallow so if it gets dirty and needs cleaning it's not a big job.  Andy built an elevated platform for each trough so it wouldn't get bedding kicked into it.  The edges of the box come up a couple of inches so the trough can't get pushed off if the sheep crowd it.  We've found that they like to chew on the hoses sometimes - recreational destruction - so the hoses are shrouded in flexible plastic drainage pipe to keep sheep lips off.  Nugget, on the left, is bummed that we took all the fun out of it and it's just....water.  Most of the lambs are in the big "non-breeding" group which includes all adult ewes who aren't being bred for various reasons but we put this pen to use housing some of the smaller lambs who we want to make sure get enough to eat and don't get bossed around by the big ewes.  That's Daisy standing up front and center, Fortune a little blurry to the right and Fawn partially hidden on the bottom left.

A bit better view of Fortune.

She looks thin here but she's not, it's just the camera angle.  I can't get into the pen with them without being nearly trampled with affection which is great fun but not when you're trying to take pictures.

And little Snubby who is doing just fine although she always has something to say - loudly - about every situation.  I caught her chewing - not flattering - and had the shutter speed so slow to catch the light that things are a bit blurry.

Flopsy.  Her ears swivel independently like a cartoon animal and she's getting cute brown freckles on her nose.

We put Danielle in with the lambs.  Having had a stroke or two and being ten years old this year we thought she would benefit from minimal competition. She has a perpetual slight head tilt and doesn't turn to the right worth beans.  I think she has a lot of character in her face, kind of like Bette Davis after her stroke (and I mean that kindly and respectfully to both parties).  Interestingly, she and Snubby have struck up a friendship.  Animals.  They know.

Next to the lambs we penned Ian and eleven Cotswold ewes.  He's behaving himself very well.  We were a bit concerned that he might lust after the lambs but apparently the older girls are keeping him plenty occupied.  Wouldn't you know he'd turn his head just as I took the picture.

We're trying three ram lambs with small groups this year.  They are all taking to the task with enthusiasm.  This is Nigel, trying to convince Lovey she's in heat.  He is from a colored mom so should give me some colored Cotswold lambs from at least some of these colored ewes.  His fleece is showing good curl and really nice luster.  Ian is doing the heavy lifting this year with the other colored and color-carrying Cotswolds.  It's too many for a lamb to manage but if he does give me some colored lambs he'll be promoted next year and have a group of about twenty.

"Do you mind?!  This is hard enough without an audience.  Sheesh."
"Whatever, kid.  Just don't mess up my curls."
This is Neville.  He's auditioning to take Lucky's place in a year or so.  He's built nicer than the picture suggests and has good curls with a very small britch area.  He's been working the ladies like a pro, so he's got at least one talent.  Heh.
Everybody should have a job they're good at.  ;-)

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE checking in -- thank you so much for sharing this window into life at your farm!