Saturday, November 8, 2014
Sheep Separating Stage 1 Complete
All the sheep are now down from the Summer pasture and the (less than) yearlings are separated from the breeding ewes who are with the rams. Things have begun to settle down a bit with a lot less noise from pissed off moms and scared lambs. I wouldn't say it's all puppies and kittens yet but it no longer sounds like a flock of 200+ pound starlings landed in and around the barn out there.
I even managed to mow and trim along the entire electric fence line and get the solar fence charger back to working properly yesterday afternoon and clean the barn some more.
Lamar has eight ewes and Frazer has ten this year and we have twenty four lambs to start sorting next week.
We will sort them into three groups. Those going to market which will include the ewes out of Frazer and the excess whethers. Those we are keeping which will be the ewes out of Lamar, the Blue face ram because we can breed them to Frazer. The final group are those we are going to slaughter which we will begin fattening them up a bit more. We will keep the slaughter lambs until December now or maybe even January because deer season starts next week. Which is fine they need a bit more weight to be worth it anyway.
I wanted to try and sell the second generation ewes outright rather than taking them to market but was voted down. I felt that advertising them as breeding ewes would bring in a bit more cash or at least save us some transporting costs but since I don't have a direct lamb in that fight this year I didn't press the issue. There's that hammer and nail thing I mentioned a few posts back coming into play. We have four slaughter lambs already ordered by locals which will leave us five other whethers for our own use. I am not sure at this point how many ewes we have that stay or go until I consult the spreadsheet. I made sure all lambs were tagged within four days of birth this year so sorting them will be a lot easier than last year.
Last night I began mingling with the yearlings while feeding them so they started getting used to me being around. This is another case of a better way of doing things over the hammer method. The parents always tended to run the yearlings into different stalls when separating them. That was kinda stupid because the young sheep just don't get it like the older ones do. I just grab one and put it where it needs to go. If they see I am not hurting them it also keeps em from panicking, they really don't mind being picked up or petted what scares em is when their numbers start disappearing. I use smaller portable gates to set up individual group pens somewhat like at a sale barn arrangement. This way they can see all the others and don't get that "we are being eaten so run away" gene to kick in. If the crowd begins to get agitated I just stop for a few minutes and let em settle down.
God I am learning to be a politician. This is scary. Keep em calm while you decide their fate :)
Anyway I have a week or more to make friends with the little ones before stage 2 begins. I also have to figure out which ewe I am keeping as my very own too. The flock as I have said is mostly my Mother's property but I charge her a tithe of one ewe a year for my services and one barn project she must finance from the sale proceeds. This year she is buying some metal pipe so I can bury the gutter runoff and direct it away from the barn but also allow the vehicles to drive over the area.
It's a never ending process.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!