Sunday, November 15, 2015

Busy fall selling and weaning.

It has been a busy fall.  We got the lambs weaned.  Fed them for a month and sold most of them.  The guard dog "XENA" gets uneasy every time we work lambs and sell off some more lambs.  Her herd gets smaller and she gets anxious.

We got the calves vaccinated and have sold most of the steer calves.  The rest has gotten weaned.  Some of the bull calves looked nice coming in.  This one weighed almost 750 pounds coming off the cow.

We got the bred heifers brought in and sorted last week.  We will sell about 40 head and keep 35 to calve ourselves.  They have been running out in the north pasture and got a little muddy wading through the mud to get a drink.  Haven't fed them anything extra as the grass is still pretty green for mid November.

We took them part way one day as they are starting to look very pregnant.  Then brought them the rest of the way the next day..

The cows have settled down after the calves were weaned and are now down in their winter pasture.  We drove down to see how they were doing the other evening.  The old pets came on the run with their lips smacking for cubes.  Tammy had some cubes for them.  We haven't started feeding cubes yet and may not if the weather holds out nice.  But they remember from last year.

Ginger is quite insistent for her cubes.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Busy summer

Tammy went to Town and got some parts and sat in the seat of a new tractor and thought it fit her fine.
So she wrangled a deal and was raking hay and stacking bales in a few days.

Here she is backing up to the rake to go raking.  We ended up stacking a couple a thousand bales.  Then we used the little Kubota to run the square baler and bale 500 or so square bales of second crop alfalfa.

Then the girls got to stack the square bales on the trailer.  Here they are after a mornings hard work..  We were getting ready to go unload the bales in the barn so the sheep would have good hay when they lamb next spring.

Then for what ever reason we turned bucks with the ewes so we can lamb in February next year.  We turned the boys out for just twenty-one days.  Then this morning got them in and removed the bucks from the ewes.

Somewhere in the middle of haying I planted turnips and radishes.  I hope that by growing radishes and turnips we can loosen up the soil so it can take on more water and provide nitrogen as they rot next spring.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Moving sheep for worms.

We are trying something different with the management of our sheep herd.  Internal parasites or worms are a growing problem with sheep.  There are like two kinds of wormers on the market and neither product gets all the worms.  Each products gets some of the same worms and each product gets different specific worms from the other product.

So we worm the ewes after they have lambed and are in the jockey pen.  Then they are turned onto the fresh pasture.  As the lambs got big enough to go on pasture with their mothers they were gathered into one pasture.  They were in this pasture for about three weeks.

Then they all got moved to a fresh pasture around the end of  May.  Here they are in the second pasture.

They were in this pasture for around three weeks.   Then we moved them to a different pasture.

We have got them bunched and are just ready to head them through the gate.  They are ready for a new pasture.  It is always exciting for livestock to get new grazing.  They say the PH of their saliva changes with the anticipation of new pasture.

By changing pasture so quickly that you break the worm cycle. The experts say change pasture every two weeks. Then rest the pasture for at least 45 days to break the worm cycle. We can't seem to change that quickly, but we are changing every three weeks.  So we will see how it works.  We are sending fecal samples to the State University.

Here the ewes and lambs are enjoying their third pasture for the year.  The clover is thick and not as tall as last year so this is good.  They were put in this pasture on June 19 so sometime after July 4 we will move them again.  This time into a fourth pasture so the first pasture should rest for around 60 days.

We haven't had rain from last June 2014 till May of this year.  So we were really dry.  January through April of 2015 were like the driest first four months of the year on record.  From May 4 on we received over 8 inches of rain in May.  Now in June it keeps raining and we have another 2.50 inches.  Just stays wet. good for grass, but not so good for haying.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Update on the snow storm

The snow finally got the ground white last night about 9 PM.  The wind never got to the 55 MPH.  and we missed the heavy snow.  This morning it was still snowing and had accumulated  4 inches.  Ryan over at the ridge place thought he had 6 inches of snow.  The temperature only got down to 31 degrees. Since this weather began last Monday we have over 2 inches of rain.

Our lilacs have been slow blooming and with being dry like we were the blooms were never very robust.  Don't think the blooms will be hurt too bad.

The ewes and lambs all spent the night in the two barns so every body came out good.  They were not very enthused about leaving the barn this morning because it was still wet and snowing with a 25 MPH wind.
I plowed the snow to clear a place to put hay.  That way the sheep don't trample their hay into the snow and mud. It takes a little more time to feed but it is worth the extra time.

There is a big pile of snow and old hay at the far end of the sheep that are feeding.

I guess I won't be grilling steak for Mother's Day.  maybe next week.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Just went through one of driest January thru April periods on record.  Then Monday May 4 we received 0.30" of rain.  Then Wednesday morning we got another 0.10".  Then the sun came out about noon and we were able to get the yearling heifers in from the feedlot.  The trucker was afraid of getting stuck, but he made it.

Got the heifers headed into their new pasture and about an hour later the rain clouds moved in and dropped and inch of rain.  We were out checking the cows and new calves when it hit.  We both got pretty wet before we got home.

Then Friday although we were under a winter storm watch Ryan branded his calves.  The day was warm and sunny.  He needed his calves branded so he could turn his cows out into a bigger pasture so he could quit feeding hay.  We haven't fed hay to our cows here since April 20.

After the branding we came home to start getting ready for the coming storm.  Saturday morning came with a light misty rain and a light east wind.  We got all the bunches of sheep, there are six different bunches, fed and then moved some around to crowd every one into a shed for the evening.  We are supposed to get from 12 to 17 inches of snow along with a 50-60 MPH wind.

We went out to get the last bunch that has lambs that are 2 months old.  They have been far out into the pasture.

This Tammy dressed to go after this last bunch of sheep.  This is the before picture.

This picture was taken 20 minutes later.  I call it the after picture.  We had just started gathering the ewes and lambs to take back to the barn.

There wasn't much wind so the snow was just falling down and melting as the flakes hit the ground.
When we got to the corral their hay was ready.  The corral is muddy, but all the ewes and lambs should be able to get in the barn if they want to.  Even in wet yucky weather there is still time to play king of the mountain.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lambing has picked up

Well lambing has picked up these last few days.  We are at about a 25 ewes a day lambing.  Had to set up more jockey pens.  Set up about eight more pens in addition to the ones we normally would have had empty.  This morning there was only three empty pens left.

Shilo brought Brooke and Kole over after school and they all helped a while.  We brought the drop bunch down the hill so we could move some bunches around.

Sometimes when we come back after a break, we go up on the hill and count how many noses are in the air.  This ewe is in the process of pushing a lamb out.  In the far right side of the picture is Bear
Butte near Sturgis.  The thunder storm cloud was our best chance of moisture in a while.  Nobody got much out of that cloud.  We got about seven drops of rain.

Here we bring the drop bunch down to the corral by the barn for the night.  Then we moved some more ewes and lambs up to the tin shed on the hill.  We already have thirty ewes up there.

Here goes the new bunch being let out of their small lot out into the big new world.  It is organized chaos for a while as lambs try to find mothers and mothers try to find lambs, all crying as loud as they can.
Brooke got to bring in a new mother of twins that was to scared to follow very good.  So Grandma loaded the lambs on the lamb sled and Brooke pulled them to the barn with the ewe following.

Brooke had a busy day.  She helped Grandma pull a lamb.  The ewe was having some problems having this lamb.  Usually they have  the lamb in about 30 minutes once they start the lambing process.  If they take longer we intervene and see what the problem is, before it becomes a big problem.

Brooke got the pull this lamb out.  A successful birth.  She was very exited to help Grandma as most days she has been in school and hasn't been over.  She informed me she has 19 days left of school.  Then she is done with first grade.

A lot of work makes one thirsty.  So I suggested the garden hose.  This was really fun to drink out of the garden hose.

I don't know what is so fun about drinking out of the garden hose , but it was really fun.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

calving and lambing

The weather continues to be warmer than normal and dryer than normal. The weather service says that January, February and March were the driest on record.  So I decided to disc the field that was too wet to plant last year.  The field worked up good and had moisture down in the soil.  So I planted my Forage Kochia and Siberian Wheatgrass  with a little Russian Wildrye.  All these plants are Alkali tolerant so hopefully they will do well in this poorly draining soil.  Now we wait for some moisture.  It could be in the form of rain or snow.  Right now we will take either.

When I was finishing planting Tammy and Marshall were working on the new fence.  They got all the wire up.  Now we need to put clips on the steel posts and build a couple of gates.

Then we needed to make the transition for the barn from a cow barn to calve heifers to a sheep barn to lamb the ewes.  So we drug the old used straw out and let the barn dry some.

Once the cattle panels are moved out and the old straw is drug out then the sheep panels can be moved back in.  When the ewes lamb they are put in individual pens called jockey pens.

Then the ewes with their lambs are moved back into larger pens that hold 10 to 12 pairs.  After a few days in these pens then they go outside in bigger groups.

Marshall finishing dragging out the old straw.  And yes it is a Massey-Ferguson 65 tractor.

We now have about 100 ewes lambed out and have started calving.  Then an old cow had twins.  She could raise both of them only she has decided to only love one.

This is her with the one she loves and here is the one she doesn't love.

It was suggested I try Craigslist to sell this calf, so that is what I tried.  As of yet no takers.