Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pick Me! Pick Me!

This seems to be what 'the boys' are saying as time approaches for the rams to be moved in with the girls. This year there will only be one breeding group, and Redford will be the ram who gets to be moved to the girls pen. In the picture Redford is the moorit smirslet sokket in the very back. Drake is the lighter musket blettett in the middle, Jeffery is the grey on the left and his twin brother Callum is on the right. Callum is actually a wether now, but sired Drake before the 'big surgery'. I was really happy to get this shot, as its very hard to get them all together and to stand still long enough to get a picture. I'm sure they were hoping for a handout of animal crackers!

Well, breeding groups are set up, a few days after this picture was taken. I must say it was a grueling experience! What should have been a 30 minute job turned into about two hours of name calling (me) and alot of na-nah-nahhhing (sheep). First I had to seperate shetland moms from shetland girl babies (who are now nearly six months old I might point out). This went very smooth, after I'd penned the moms and babies in the small catch pen. Catch a baby, hustle it out, shut the gate. Soon done, I left the moms in the small pen, opened the gate from the shetland pen to the larger paddock so the babies could filter out, and headed up to the main barn to sort out two Dorset/Merino yearlings and Duckie (black shetland yearling who had decided to be a big white sheep). This is when I looked back and realized I had a situation. Bouncing around behind me were a bunch of little shetlands plus one big black fuzzy one--Rouen had escaped from the pen! Of all the sheep in the world, Rouen is not the one you want to escape. I decided to ignore her and deal with the others first, but I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. At the barn, I doubled gated the barn, so I would have another pen to sort off the non-keepers from the three keepers, but also have a backup gate in case keepers got out with non-keepers. This went amazingly smooth and I soon had three upset sheep shut in the barn. Off I went to try and catch Rouen. About thirty minutes later, I finally got her penned in a small area behind where the other shetlands were, by using a lightweight pallet. Then it took probably twenty more minutes to convince the shetland babies to re-remove themselves from the area! Back to the main barn I let out the non-keepers and then went to let them and the shetland babies out to pasture. At the pasture gate as I'm letting out the sheep, I hear a terrible commotion from the barn and see the first gate crash down and three sheep are in the second pen. Me thinks to myself, well, they won't jump THAT gate because its too tall. About that time, I see one of the Merino crosses jump /fall into the next stall, which unfortunately has an open gate. Okay, I think to myself, she won't get through THIS gate that I'm holding! About that time, she hits/tries to jump the gate I'm holding, bounces back, re-revs herself and hits the gate ninety to nothing, slamming it out of my hand, backwards into the pasture until it hits the garage wall. It took me quite awhile to make that gate (a heavy duty metal tube gate with cattle panel filler) go back the way its suppose to! The whole time this is happening I'm thinking that the wild renagade sheep is Melody--the white sheep with the big black spot posted elsewhere in my blog--as she has always been less than friendly. Now her twin sister, Suzie, is soo gentle, loves crackers and petting.... When I get back to the barn where the other two are still waiting like normal sheep, I realize the crazy one was actually Suzie! I was very shocked. It's not often I've seen a demented sheep, but she was sure giving a good impression of one. I've never really had a sheep go so totally crazy and jump mulitple barriers! So now, I have eight of the nine ewes semi-confined, and just need to combine them. In order to do that, I have to let them out of their pens and then try and sort them back to the pasture I want them to go to. Whew... another 30 minutes of sheer sheep stubborness, before THAT happened. Finally they were all safely behind bars, er fences, so I went off to get Red, thinking that was going to be another circus. I was so happy to see him standing by himself AT the gate that I coulda danced. I quickly undid the gate latches, pulled him out, relatched the gate, haltered him and led him off just as the other rams wised up. Red was a little gentleman on the halter, and halfway to the ewes, I stopped, checked his feet, did some belly wool trimming and wormed him then off to the girls. I've double fenced several areas and hope that he and THEY (rotten girls) stay where they are suppose to. There has been much wailing around here the last few days--you would think that the I stole week old babies from them. I sure am glad that is done, and I'm glad I didn't know how long and drama filled it was going to be before I started! This next picture I picked because it was so NOT peaceful that morning! This shows the two Merino twins with their mother (yes they are almost two years old, but still stay with mom all the time!). Oh, and that escapee? I caught her that night in the barn, and literally dragged her, step by step by step (with a few bucks and twirls thrown in by Suzie) to the pen with the others. Her sister was very glad to see her! (

1 comment:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Tammy, I think this qualifies as a "sheep rodeo!" I can just sit back and be amused, since I am not breeding any of my three girls this year (I'm getting Valentine after she's bred) and have no ram! We'll see how NEXT year goes....