Saturday, March 17, 2012

Water becoming a concern

The dry warm weather is great for lambing and calving. The young ones jump right up and suck right away and get off to good start.  Yesterday we got temperatures into the 80's.  I went out and started doing fieldwork.  Getting the ground ready to plant small grain.

But with the blessing of warm spring weather comes the curse of limited moisture for run off and moisture to grow grass and water livestock.

This is a picture of a dam to hold water for livestock water.  It is very low.  The water would not be knee deep.  We have pulled two ewes out of the mud that is around edge.  When the water gets low like this the dirt gets stickier.  Over the years dirt blows in the dam and dirt washes into the dam so it is a fine dirt that doesn't pack down and things get stuck easier.

We have started watering these sheep out of a steel water tank.  The hydrant needs to be turned on in the morning and turned off in the evening.  So it is just one more chore that needs done.  The March lambers have only about 11 left to lamb. So they are about done.  The big bunch of ewes and lambs now number about 100 pairs.  I will try to get a picture of these for the next blog.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Tammy and I have spent most of our time in the lambing barn lately.  The weather goes from windy and cold to warm and nice and back again.  A few days ago we had below zero wind chills and the ewes (mothers to be) ate a while outside and run back into the barn and huddled together, then run outside and ate fast and run back in the barn and huddled together and chewed their cud.  Sheep are a ruminant animal and they have four stomachs. The sheep eat mouthfulls of hay or grass then swallow.  These mouthfuls are called cuds.  When they are resting they bring up the cuds and re-chew them.  We call this chewing their cud.  These well chewn cuds then go into the next stomach where they are further digested.  Then pass through the other two stomachs.  Yesterday, Tuesday the temperature got to 74 degrees, so the ewes, laid down and slept and enjoyed the sunshine.

Our grandkids came for the morning while their parents kept appointments.  I had Logan the two year old, he was helping me.  I needed to check on a ewe and needed to put Logan somewhere so I put him in the tractor cab.

He did not know he was in jail.  He thought he was in heaven.  But I got the ewes checked and he was entertained.

Here is a picture of some lambs sleeping under a feed trough.  We put about ten ewes and their lambs in a big pen and now we have about six pens with pairs.  Each pen has pairs that are about the same age.  So the ones that are oldest are now going outside and soon will be followed by the next oldest ones.

We number our ewes with a paint number and number the lamb with the same number.  That way each ewe and her lambs have the same number and we can keep track of everyone.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The spring Storm

The wind blew almost every day since we sheared last Thursday.  We were lambing steady but not a lot any one day. The spring storm was predicted far ahead of time, but the animals knew it was coming also.  The cows and the light calves that now run out with the cows came up in yard just looking.  These light calves were in the lot and fed hay and some grain all winter.  Now we are getting ready for calving and need the room so we put the calves out with the cows here.  These cow won't calve until late April and May.

The storm came Tuesday afternoon and started to snow  and snowed into the night.
We only got 2 or 3 inches of snow and some wind to blow everything around.  The next
morning it was sunny and calm.  The temperature got up to 44 degrees in the afternoon.

The sheep and the cows eating hay after the storm.  As you can see there isn't
a lot of snow.  We still need to haul the wool to Belle Fouche, probably some time next week.