Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekend sheep work

The flock had one last peaceful weekend of grazing before we separated the rams from the ewes.We had a few cooler days. With Fall in the air, the rams were getting rambunctious! I think it was mostly Fable. He decided to pick a fight with Finn. I could hear them from my bedroom window, the sound of horns crashing. Maybe Fable knows that he won't get any ewes this fall. Although he's a beautiful ram, we just have too many ewes that are related to him. I can't bear to send him to the butcher for that reason alone. I would really love to put him to work this fall, selling him to another flock. He is very reasonably priced, and I would consider trades. He's a triplet mouflon ram. I don't have him registered yet, but his pedigree would be the same as his sisters (click). He is very easy to work with, parasite resistant, gorgeous horns. It's funny how our new ram Thunder decided to step in and be the referee. He didn't do much fighting, but did get his ear smashed trying to settle the other rams down. This morning we decided it was time to work the sheep, and try out our new working system that I got on Craigslist called Billy Goat Gruff Complete Worker System. After using it just one time, I would highly recommend it. I don't feel nearly as beaten, battered and bruised as I usually do, working with these feisty Icelandics! Loading them into the chute was the hardest part. Things would have gone quicker if we had 3 people working instead of two. Maybe the sheep will get used to it, and go right in themselves eventually (yeah, right).... Above, I am tattooing, my least favorite job.

The system is nice. Once you have the sheep in the headgate, the sides both swing open so it's "easy" to trim hooves. Trimming sheep hooves is never an easy job though. Most of them kick and fight and would rather strangle themselves than have their hooves trimmed.

Here's Fancy, in the torture chamber.

And my dear Charlotte, getting her hooves trimmed. We did all of the ewes this morning and sent them on their way. It was over 90 degrees by the time we were finished. I think my back is fried. We'll do the rams tomorrow.


Tammy G said...

The system you got off Craigslist looks new. What a great find for you This should save lots of time not to mention making your work a lot easier.

What a big flock; I bet your tired tonight! Time for some iced tea and some good ol'fashioned porch sitting.

Terri said...

The system is nearly new, and we got it for half price. I think we are really going to like it. Currently our flock is 20 rams and 40+ ewes. Most of those rams will go to the butcher, as we can't afford to keep them over, though they are perfectly nice rams. I hate that!
We are relaxing with a pasta meal full of homegrown veggies and a bottle of chardonnay. Yum. Summer is so delicious, but so tiring.

Shannon said...

Thunder sounds like a great ram. The ram we just recently lost was our referee and I am going to miss that. Good equipment can make a tough job a little easier :) Still hard on the back though!