Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Even the "Useless" Sheep have a Use.
Pouring down rain again today only this time I am not even sure it made it above 50 degrees all day. I been huddled inside hovering around my little space heater and taking frequent forays to get little things done but nothing major enough to be mentionable.
The sheep on the other hand are totally flippin crazy they love these cool temps so much. I guess you can hardly blame them since their wool is growing back now I imagine the heat is rather unpleasant. The lambs are scampering like crazy and the ewes are intent to just eat until they explode (as usual). Since our one scare with bloat though I make sure I feed em a little grain and hay before turning them out on the wet pasture every morning now. It seems to be working so far.
One of our oldest ewes Lilly had triplets this year, she is the white ewe in the above picture. She had suffered from mastitis two years ago and we didn't breed her the season before this last one but the Vet said we might could try this season. So we did. Big mistake. Well OK it depends on how you look at it but we almost lost her after the birth. Whether from complications of milk production due to the old mastitis issue or something else she was down for the count and honestly even the Vet thought she was going to die. She didn't but her triplets made up 3 of this year's 4 bottle lambs. Now she is losing her wool due to the temperature and illness she had. Still she kicked out three lambs so that should help offset the cost for her treatments.
I guess we should start a retirement pension system for the ewes. If I could figure out how to tax the other sheep for it I could be like Uncle Sam ;)
This is a good example of why our little operation suffers from reduced profits sometimes. I can assure you we spent more money on that ewe than she will ever bring in although over her entire career it may be closer to break even. Still at this point she is totally past any usefulness what-so-ever and will join what I call the invalid flock. The invalid flock has numbered as many as seven individuals at times but is now back down to three counting the new member Lilly. I managed to actually find good homes for three of the invalids this year believe it or not. The other current members of the invalid flock are Sammich and Boris.
Sammich is my escape artist clown. to be fair the verdict is not completely in on her yet as I tried breeding her this last year and although the other ewes have all had their lambs, Sammich didn't escape the ram paddock until mid January about two weeks before I moved all the other ewes. It is possible she still might be pregnant although I doubt it very much. Still it is possible until Mid June. Sammich was a bottle baby herself and a very sickly little lamb but managed to pull through. She was so small the first two years of her life there wasn't really any reason to sell her or be concerned about the dead weight because I doubt she even came in at 60 pounds. Last Summer as part of the cutting crew though she grew quite a bit and is now almost normal sized. My guess is though her sickly lamb-hood made her sterile. She is an escape artist and is always the first to find a way out of any fence but I hafta admit I think of her as much of a pet as I do any of the cats or dogs so she won't be going anywhere ever. I decided she was the farm mascot to counter any question of why I am keeping her :)
Then there is Boris.
I have a picture of Boris somewhere but can't find it right now and not going to take the camera out in the rain. Anyway Boris is now over a year old but was a very friendly little lamb last year and Mrs. PP insisted he be kept. Sammich and him are friends and she is teaching him all her bad habits. Boris also has a tendency to headbutt me when he wants attention so I have had to put him on the ground a few times to teach him some manners. It's all funny when he is small but in a few more years when he is the size of a steer it could be an issue. Both Boris and Sammich have started this new thing recently were they raise their front hoof and paw at me like a dog wanting attention.
So the three of them, Sammich, Boris and now Lilly are the invalid flock. They do have one useful talent though when it comes to weaning time as I put the invalids in with the lambs to be weaned to kinda act as the leaders. It does calm the young ones down a bit to have a couple of elders to follow around. Boris was also the inspiration for my color coding and right/left ear tag system so the Mrs. can now tell the boys from the girls and keep from getting attached to the boys.
Not sure if the invalid groups combined talents are worth the resources in feeding them but they sure keep things interesting.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!