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.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Operation Ram Drop Off

Here are the three boys, all loaded up in the sheep carrier. That is beautiful Orion and his fluffy self , blocking the other two. You can barely see Omen in the very back--the one with the black nose.
Here you can see Just Jack facing the camera (looks all innocent, doesn't he?), and beautiful Orion and his slightly ratty, not so beautiful tail.

The Saturday before last, I got up early, did chores and built a catch pen for the ram lambs. It was time for Operation Ram Drop Off. In case I haven't mentioned it, breeding season went very smooth around here. At first. Too smooth you might say. That all went to you-know-where in a hand basket, when Rain helped bust Sprat (who is now called Just Jack), out of his breeding group and in with the main flock of ewes. Phew.... I was not happy to discover him in with 'the girls'. Damage appeared to be two unplanned ewes bred. Rain and Tabitha both seemed to be in season on that glorious day. It gets worse. After barricading and reinforcing the fence, I went about my life, thinking all would be well. What I should have done, was drag that little ram squirt down to the ram lambs pen that very minute...but noooooo.... Four days later my Mom calls and tells me Just Jack was in with the main flock--again. I took off early, headed home. Caught Just Jack and hauled his little butt down to the ram lamb pen. It was cold and his raddle paint was needing to be replaced so I'm not sure who all was bred, but, for sure Blackberry. Probably Rouen. Possibly one of the big white sheep. (Let me take a moment to beat my head against my desk...). The best I can tell, J. Jack went under the fence that time. I'm trying to keep an eye on the sheep, praying that some of these girls didn't catch and will recycle. If not, that means not six ewes lambing, but ten...possibly eleven... nooo! While I'm trying not to dwell on it, this really is a hard blow. With the economy I had hoped to have a small lambing this year. I also just wanted things to be more manageable. Oh it goes.

Anyway. After all the damage was done, I wanted to see Just Jack back home as soon as possible before he got more ideas. Putting him with the other two ram lambs distracted him for several days so we made it to the weekend, without further incident.

After a brief flurry of 'no way, no how' on Just Jack's part about going in the catch pen, I was able to get all three boys up. My Dad came up and helped me load them up. I wormed them as they went in.

Allena had offered to overwinter my two, plus Jack belongs to her, so that is where we were headed. It's a little over an hour away, and I took the back way, so it was a rather pleasant little drive. Not much traffic, several deer though, so I went slow and enjoyed the sunny day. The boys did great and rode quietly the whole way.

Once I got to Allena's we unloaded, and looked over some of her ewes, comparing fleece and other things that sheepy people do. Just enjoying talking sheep. The ram lambs were dumped in with the ram flock, so there was allot of chasing around, but limited fighting. Of course once I got there, I totally forgot about my camera! Argh.....

Hopefully my little guys will do well, and behave themselves. I think it will benefit them to be raised in a larger ram flock. Both of them are for-sale still, and I believe that Orion's horn will clear. It will be close, but I think it will make it. Allena promised to keep an eye on it for me over the next few months.

After I had removed J. Jack from the ewe flock, I went ahead and put the ewes back in with the main flock, and 'tore down' the breeding paddock--moved waterers, cleaned feeders etc. The ewes were ten times worse than the rams in fighting. All the rest of that day and into the night, little rats. Rouen, who has the distinction of being oldest sheep on the farm at age eight, was injured I think. I'm guessing either a slight concuss, or bruised ribs. I told her she was not as young as she used to be, but she wouldn't listen. I did worry about her and kept a close eye on her during the night and the next day. She seems fine though. At the time, she would lay down, curl her lip and shift around very uncomfortable. It never got to the grinding teeth stage though.

I'm very glad that the girls are back together now, and the ram lambs are delivered to their winter home. Things are quieter and chores are easier as we settle in for the winter.

On the road again...this stretch of road has red paving...but it doesn't show up well in the picture. I find it fascinating!


Anonymous said...

Well, if it makes you feel any better, Omen has been the escape artist at our place. He got in with the girls once, and almost got in a second time :)

We'll have to pay close attention to lambing dates!

Wrensong Farm said...

It sure is annoying when Mother Nature has other breeding plans isn't it!! I hope Rouen is getting better!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I guess we will have to trust that God has a purpose (meat? I hope not!) for all those lambs that will be born next spring! I can get nervous about having all four of my girls bred if I let myself, but try not to. I still think Butter is going to be the best cross on Franjean, so I AM glad I added her. Franjean goes home tomorrow; yeah!

Pat in east TN said...

It seems your life is NEVER boring! Goodness sakes but I got exhausted just reading of your adventures!

JK said...

Geez...and here I thought I had problems.
Keep us in mind if the big white ewe is bred...we will take her wether lambs :-)
Hope Rouen feels better.