Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What a Day!

Yesterday started out nicely. I milked cows (at a neighbors farm), sheared several sheep who finally got the rise. (Some still don't, but I want to do everyone I can.) Then after shearing the last ewe, a two year old first time lamber, and trimming her feet, I notice half her udder is hard. Mastitis, but too late to treat. Sadly I have to cull her; I'd much rather cull older girls. (She will have to go to market as I don't think she will be able to feed two lambs with half an udder. I will check her before she goes to see if her udder is soft. No one is getting culled until sometime in July as they are still feeding lambs.) I do cull sheep who are too old to breed, have problems like not enough milk, hard lambing (depends on what the circumstances are though), and attitude. I cull to keep my flock productive and make room for younger animals. I don't like culling or sending animals to market, but I need to as that is a part of most farming. I'd rather eat my animals than many animals (meat) from the store. My animals only have one bad day and the store bought meat animals often have only one good day. The day they get butchered. Those factory farmed animals often live in misery.

Then we got a nice thunder storm. It is so nice to get rain after not getting any for quite a while (we got rain a different day as well.) I thought, well I'm done shearing and I can't move the sheep to a new spot of grazing yet, I may as well wash wool. So I got some wool in the water and it stopped raining. I went out moved the sheep and as they were being moved, a lamb broke its leg. (I had a pallet on the hill to prevent erosion as the sheep and goats were rolling on that spot and making a big hole. Very bad idea.... as that's how she broke her leg.) Completely snapped in half. It sounded like a board breaking. I carried her up the hill and put her in a pen in the barn. The vet came out and set her leg and put a cast on. It is just like a "people" cast. Hers is wrapped in pink vet wrap, so she has pretty pink cast. Her break is just below the knee on a back leg. Since she is a lamb she should heal nicely. In six weeks the vet will have to cut the cast off and she should be as good as new. (I have a friend who had a yearling jump a fence and get her back leg in the fence as he was running to get her out her leg snapped. She got a cast and healed nicely. He still has her and one can't even tell by looking that she had broken her leg.)

Then I saw that our mamma hen has babies! Two so far and two more could hatch. They are cute little things.

I started making supper as my mom was working and both brothers were over. I made a pasta salad, which they devoured. After that I remembered the wool and started over as it had gotten too cold. I caught the hurt lamb's twin sister as the poor girl came to (she was drugged up for the vet casting her leg) and was baaing for the flock. I went back and got the ewe with a bucket of grain she followed nicely. That was done.

I went back down the the flock as I needed to set up some electric netting (couldn't earlier as it was raining and storming of for a second time) as the permanent fencing shrinks every year in that spot due to being marshy and tall marshy grass. Baaa. Baaaa, Maaa, BAAA! One spot about 6 ft. long is all it takes...everyone got out. Great! sheep in the ditch, which is not a good spot as that ditch is really wet and sloppy; sheep running along the fence line; and around some trees in another direction. I called for Lydia as she was out side putting her horse away. She came and the sheep actually went in very well! They all jumped back in where they had gotten out, they knew they weren't supposed to be out, and I got the netting up. ( I had been planning on putting the netting up right after they moved, but first the break and then the second storm.) All's well ends well.

I rinsed out the wool which surprisingly got clean, watered a different group of sheep, changed into PJs read the Bible with the family and went to bed! Today I'm planning on deworming, I'll see what happens today!


  1. ..."Then after shearing the last ewe, a two year old first time lamber, and trimming her foot, I notice half her udder is hard. Mastitis, but too late to treat. Oh well, another cull,..."

    Oh, Laura! I know what a kind and loving shepherdess you are but was shocked at the above sentence! I'm sure that you didn't mean it quite as callously as it sounds but worry that others might not realize that...

    I'm glad the vet was able to cast the little lamb's leg ~ I bet she looks adorable, bopping around in her pretty, pink cast! Only a shepherd that really loves their sheep would bother to have a vet out to care for a lamb with a broken leg. You do take good care of your flock.

  2. I am exhausted just reading that Laura. Whew, you had quite the day.

  3. I'm exhausted too Laura. This time of year there is so much to be done! I loved reading about your day. Sorry about the ewe with mastitis and the lamb's broken leg. Congrats on the baby chicks. :)

  4. Nancy, I guess that did come across as harsh. I don't like culling, but have to to make room for young more productive animals and to remove problems (ie: old ewes, not enough milk, sickly animals, aggressive rams) from the flock. I did change the post, thanks for mentioning that!

    Update on the lamb: The lamb is doing quite well. She kind of hobbled around for a couple days, kind of tripping over her leg. Now she actually learned how to use it when she walks! She is almost as fast as all the other lambs and is faster than the really young (newborns)lambs. Animals are amazing!