Friday, July 20, 2012

Of Heat, Hay and Hermaphrodites

I can hear you going, "Whaaa.....??"  Yep, you read it right, but more on that later.

We are closing in on the end of first cutting hay.  We have half of a field left to bale which should be about 800 more bales which would push us to 7200.  The oats are maturing fast in the heat so we'll be baling straw soon, possibly before second cutting alfalfa.

The heat has been wicked here for the animals, plants and DH.  I was so comfortable I actually wore shorts to town the other day.  So besides hay, what do we do in mid-summer?  Andy sent three truckloads of ear corn to a fellow in Penn Yan with beef cattle.  It flows pretty well at first but you eventually have to climb into the crib and shovel it.

The fellow doing the trucking climbed on top of the load to make sure the trailer was filling evenly and to pull the travel tarp over it.

We kept back enough corn to keep us safe if the corn we planted totally fails this year.  It sure wouldn't make sense to sell our home grown corn just to buy someone else's later at a higher price.

Holly and I participated in the Bath Humane Society's fundraising dogwalk. It was a circular route through town starting from the site of the new facility.

We walked through some downtown and some residential areas.

And then ended up back at the starting point where they had some pools waiting for the dogs.

Angel was thrilled to take advantage of one and Holly even stood in one for a while to cool her feet.  She's not a water dog.

We recently went though the flock and checked eye scores and weights, separated out the ram lambs and moved them to the Bachelor Barn with the big rams.  This week we have also put the ewes and ewe lambs into drylot, which means they have no access to pasture at all and are instead eating hay.  We've never had to do that before, but the drought has pushed the pasture into dormancy.  Rather than have the sheep wander in the heat looking for grass that isn't there (and damaging the plants in the process) they are eating close to 20 bales a day of that stuff we just baled. Additionally, we put the ewe lambs into the creep area so they could get a grain ration and what a commotion that caused.  For 36 hours all the moms and lambs did was yell at each other.  I know it would be worse than weaning the boys because there was no way to get the little girls out of sight and sound, but it was really awful.  Andy had to go downstairs that night and sleep on the couch because our bedroom windows face the lower barn and the noise was insufferable.  (I pulled a pillow over my head and managed OK, but I can sleep through anything).

And while we were working the flock to separate everyone we came across another 'first' - a hermaphrodite.  We weighed what I had on the charts as a ewe lamb and noted a wet butt so I grabbed the hand shears to trim the wool.  A few lambs had scoured from tapeworms so the dirty behind wasn't overly alarming, but needed cleaning up. Well the butt was wet, but turns out to be just urine. Hmmm... There's a funny bit of tissue sticking out of her vulva so maybe it's a little growth that's deflecting the pee? Well, whatever...we'll trim the wool up so she's not wet. Snip, snip, JUMP.....what did I hit? I'm no where near a teat, let's flip her over. OMG, here's 2 small but obvious testicles!! No sheath on the belly, but those. are. testicles. (one weeping blood a little. sorry. grab the BlueKote). So we stand her up and continue with the other lambs and later catch her peeing, but no squatting or lifting the tail. No wonder her tail dock was wet.  Clearly, the lamb thinks it's male. Maybe the growthy thing is an extension of the urethra like a pizzle on a ram?  (I'll spare you any sheep porno pictures, just take my word for it.)  So that's another 'new' thing this year that we've not seen before. Don't know how common that is in sheep - maybe she's worth a million dollars! 

Dexter says,
I'd give you a million dollars to turn the heat down.  Until then don't bother me.  I'm in my happy place.

Hang in there, Dexter.  It's got to cool off soon.

1 comment:

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