Saturday, April 07, 2007

what AM I doing?

Good morning, and happy Easter to you all,
Yes, I did....I named a ram Rabbit this week. Mom's name is Bunny, and it seemed logical at the time. I can just picture a shepherd calling for "rabbit" to come see his new friends.
Not really. I did want to say I have not been taking new photos....we are somewhere around 40 lambs now and many of them came in a two day period. Unfortunately for us shepherds....the weather is unusually cold and windy right now.
It does put a crimp in my schedule of keeping lambs and moms in jugs for about 24 hours....or nice warm afternoons....whichever comes first.
I suppose I could brag about my bunch of twins....born the natural way....but really, the nice thing about twins is that they can cuddle up next to each other and not freeze. I only have one heat bulb out right other bulbs are 100 watt....yes they throw heat...but maybe not enough. I'll look for some today, as we expect another really cold night. Casualties include the peach tree....which looks pretty frozen this morning.
We are also having the high winds here. I know they are worse up north....but they seem really cold since we were 80 degrees a few days ago.
I mentioned the variety of jugs full of lambs....some with twins...some doubled up with singles. Yesterday I had a shivering ewe....I plied her with warm molasses water and moved some twins outside so I could set the sick ewe up under a heat lamp.... my newly released lambs spent the day getting on the wrong side of fences and calling wlldly for mom, in the cold....I lost another lamb in the morning....drowned in the fluid....but pulled a long long breech.... and she lived. So I was kind of even for the day....quiet otherwise...too cold for the ewes to stop moving.
The culmination for the day was my lack of fencing gates. Yes, I kept stealing my gate panels for jugs. So the gates between the yard and the pastures started leaning. Then I saw several ewes in the back yard. Yup...they saw their opportunity to eat that long grass....and Shetlands are never slow to take an opportunity.
I use a sweet grain mix...besides adding calories...the ewes will run to get their grain.
Soooo. I thought I would have an easy time getting the numbering about thirty....back out of the yard.
Apparently not. As I shook the grain bucket they came running...but as I opened the gates, more ewes ran into the yard than came out. Several minutes of frustration passed. Several ewes were threatened with extinction. Then I processed the situation and dismanterled the gates by the barn, and made a catch pen. Now as we called the ewes to the pen with grain....we could shut the gate and then let the girls out of the catch pen. No more ewes were getting into the yard. But.....the younger ewes were much more interested in grass and bushes than in grain.
Tired brains sometimes have brilliant ideas. Why don't we bring out the crazy cocker, the one who barks at sheep? So my husband brought the barking terror into the yard on a leash....she wouldn't utter a sound....she wagged her tail and tried to pull my husbands arm off.
Shepherds will survive....WE started barking. Woof Woof....GRrrrr....the offending sheep could see the dog, and they could hear barking, but it was the growling that brought them running to the gates.
Finally the sheep were all in the pasture. But they weren't in the nighttime pasture, and many could lamb at any time. So I piled grain in dishes next to the barn....and kept filling them when empty from my blue bucket. The ewes ran from pan to pan.
Then I called to hubby. Bring those gate panels down to the barn now. What? Yes, dismantle the only set of gates standing between our 60 odd ewes, and the YARD??
He dutifully carried those panels and filled the space I had made in the fence. As the grain ran out I stood in the opening blocking it as I growled.....GRrrrrr! Thimble cocked her head and stood her ground. She knew it was me growling.
What in the world has happened to my shepherd's mind now? she thought in her best sheepy mind.
I found a nice live ram lamb single in the barn this morning. I LOVE live lambs.
The only space I could find for him and mom was the end of another jug near the heat lamp . So I moved in a cooler to stand in place of a gate. And hoped that the lambs would stay on their own side .
I'll take pictures when I can.


At 8:19 PM, Blogger Garrett808 said...

thank you for the most enjoyable story! You are a great story teller and I was laughing so hard I was crying :) I"m glad to see this kind of stuff happens to all of us, not just me ;) I love the photos of the lambs!


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