Thursday, February 7, 2008

Musings (thinking of lambs really)

I guess I need to be a better blogger, but I since I write for a living it kind of leaves me a little hollow by the end of the day and I find I have little creativity left for my blog. Sometimes I'm just all written out!

I had a call from my friend Darci, who was telling me about her new lambs. Apparently the mother is a first timer and Darci feels the lambs are a bit too small and weak looking. I think she's going to give them a boost with a little Nutri-drench and some fortified B complex. Her story reminds me of when I first got sheep. I bought a tunis flock from someone who was going through a divorce. I couldn't afford them all, so I got two friends to go in with me.

The sheep had been pastured with two different rams, a tunis and a corriedale. Between my neighbor and I, we had most of the flock, but of course had no idea when they would start lambing. As it became evident which sheep were pregnant, we separated them out from the nonbred sheep. One evening in the middle of lambing, Joy and I headed out from her house to check on things when I noticed a little white lamb in the "open sheep" pasture. My first thought was "How did that lamb get over there?" My next thought was "Oh my goodness, one of those young ewes has lambed!" To compound things, she was a first-timer and so a little ditzy when it came to getting her to follow her baby out of that pasture and into the paddock with the moms. We finally got her and the lamb up, but of course she had not been crutched and had a mess of unkempt wool we had to do something with. So there Joy and I were in this little chicken house turned lambing jug, crutching a new mama by the light of a heat lamp. I wouldn't recommend it. :) But we did finally get her cleaned up enough that we thought the lamb would be able to find something other than a dirty wool tag to nurse on, made sure she had milk, and called it a night. That little lamb was named Button, as in "cute as a...."

I am getting impatient waiting for my own lambs, but it will be another two weeks at the earliest. Many of the girls are starting to bag up. It's been pretty wet here, which has made mud in areas of the pasture, which has in turn left me with some lame sheep. One of my projects for this afternoon is to go spread lime around the stock tank and mineral feeders to help dry out feet and prevent/end any scald that's going on. I even moved their round bale to the upper side of the pasture since it stays drier there. Now they have to walk to the lower part of the pasture to get to the feed bunks and bed down, and to the upper part for hay, water, and minerals. I'm hoping that's keeping them moving enough, because Laura's hair sheep are FAT! I don't want to try to separate them out and cut them back now for fear of pregnancy toxemia, so I'm hoping the extra walking will help keep them fit for birthing.

As for the dogs, they are just patiently waiting for a chance to get out and work. I have one ewe who's a bit thin and I need to pull her and a couple of the older girls so I can make sure they get a bit extra. I hate to do it because they are never happy separated from the main flock, even when they have their own little group, but I think it will be better for them. Anyway, once I pull out those that need extra TLC, I can do some training on the pups with the rest of the flock.

We had a couple of record-breaking days here, with temperatures in the 70s. It felt like spring, and maybe I'm even feeling a bit of spring fever. I should be doing things like getting my lambing records ready, cleaning house, training dogs, but all I really want to do is nap. Well, I did hear on NPR the other day that people who nap for 45 minutes in the afternoon actually perform better cognitively than people who don't. That's all the excuse I need!

And since this hasn't been the most interesting blog entry I've ever created (okay, so there's just a few for comparison), I'll end with a bunch of pictures of working border collies and sheep.

Twist (my right-hand man, er, dog and one of my open trial dogs):

Kat (my other open trial dog and all around cutie!)

Lark just turned 2 on January 31. This is one of my favorite pictures of her. I'm setting up a shed, and she's waiting for me to call her through the sheep.

Phoebe, who is Twist's daugher and will be two on Bastille Day this year. The sire is Roy Johnson's Sonny, who won the 2007 National Cattledog Finals.

And last but not least, Phoebe's littermate Pipit (Pip for short).
And how about some sheep as well?


~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Thats ok, I have lamb fever also, there are a hundred things that we need to do to get ready for them and all I can do is be anxious for their arrival :)
Every year about this time I start thinking about that one ewe who is going to carry her lambs wrong and someone will have to pull them. My daughter, bless her little heart, has been telling me since she was 6 that she wanted to be a 'vegetarian' when she grew up; well after about ten she realized she wanted to be a 'veterinarian' but she will never live the other down lol so last year we have this ewe that Jari thinks is taking too long to lamb and she goes exploring! I was floored, I never thought she would do it! I was very proud of her, even though there wasn't anything wrong and the ewe eventually lambed all by herself :)

Julie said...

Oh my! I try not to go exploring unless it's absolutely necessary, and so far--knock on wood--I haven't had to help anyone deliver. My first year I had one ewe presenting a lamb with a turned back leg (the second of a set of twins), but by the time I ran to the barn to get my o.b. supplies and got back she'd delivered it. There's something to be said for the experienced old girls!

I am glad I work from home 4 days a week, though. I don't have to fret nearly as much wondering what's going on at home while I'm at work.

Last year everyone lambed in the early, early morning, so at worst they would have just made me late to work, but not having to go at all is much better!

I like the "vegetarian" idea. Maybe she can be a vegetarian vet! ;-)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Wow, FIVE border collies! And I thought I had my hands full with one active boy and an Aussie pup!

BTW, my husband is a vegetarian vet. :-) His first job after graduation was in Minnesota where he worked for a lot of small dairies. When they learned he was a vegetarian he took some ribbing. "What? You don't trust your own work? What kind of a food animal vet won't eat meat?" That always made me wonder about their kids' peditricians.... Ha!

Julie said...

Hey Michelle,
I almost hate to admit it, but the actual count is nine! Those in the photos are just my current working dogs. Everyone else is a retiree or a rescue. I'll have to get some decent photos of the rest of the gang and put them up. And now my friends Laura and Robin just got a pair of pups out of South Dakota and I'm jonesin' for a puppy! (which I need like a hole in the head)