Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Well we got sheared.  Four shearers and two helpers came with a shearing trailer and wool sacker.   We lined up another three helpers to push sheep up.  It was supposed to be cold and rainy, but it was just cool and windy with no rain.  The sheep are dry and ready to be sheared.

We use a zig-zag chute to stop the sheep from backing up once they have started up the chute.  It cuts down on the stress of the sheep and stress on the handlers.  Also it take less help.  Once the sheep start up the chute into the trailer many times you just get out of the way and let them load themselves.

Once the sheep load into the trailer they are sheared.

Here is a big look of the shearing trailer and wool sacker all set up and working.  The face wool is separated from the belly wool and put in different sacks.  Just the best wool is put all together in certain sacks.  So each sack is labeled as to which kind of wool is in the sack.  Different wool has different uses so it needs to be separated and labeled.

In the middle is a wool sack that holds bellies and to the left is the closed door of the wool sacker, with a gas engine mounted on top.  There is a pile of wool in front of the sacker ready to be sacked.

Here are our sacks of wool on the trailer ready to head to Belle Fouche.

Here is a picture inside the wool warehouse in Belle Fouche.  They will take a core sample of our wool bales and send the samples to a wool lab.  Then we know what we have for a product then the manager of the wool warehouse knows which customers may be interested in our quality of wool and will offer the wool for sale.  Maybe some time in June we will get a bid and the wool shipped in July.

Then we went to get our bags of sawdust that we use for bedding.  Where we used to get it no longer did retail.  So we tried two different lumber yards and a feed store and no one had any.  The next day we found a supplier in Rapid City.  We had to take two pallets of bags as a minimum.  So we went to Rapid City and got some sawdust.  Sawdust keeps the barn cleaner and it easier to clean the pens that are bedded with sawdust as opposed to straw.  Plus the sawdust has a natural turpentine substance that helps disinfect where straw can carry molds and bacteria.

The wind blew so hard the day we brought this load home we were afraid it would blow over,  but we made it.  It is not heavy just sticks up in the air about eight feet.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Transition from calving barn to lambing barn

Well it finally has warmed up for a few days.  The calves are enjoying the warmer weather.

The mud has started to dry up.  It seemed like it would never dry out.  Tammy and I calved the first calf heifers for about five weeks.  We then hauled the last eight head over to Ryan's so he can finish calving them.  We turned the heifers and their calves out in the pasture with the cows that are not to start calving until April 20.  Then got the sheep into the close lots by the barn.  We can start feeding the sheep extra grain to get them into shape for having their babies in a couple of weeks.

The calves enjoy being out in a bigger pasture.  They are getting to be a month old and can venture away from their mothers for a short period of time.  The pasture they are in has a small dam that is running over with water.  Last year at this time it was bone dry.  We had to fill a tank with water daily last year   and now the cows can drink anytime.

The sheep are in the lot and we feed with a bale processor that grinds the hay bale as it puts it out in a windrow.

Once the animals are moved around to their new locations, then we started cleaning out the barn and moving cattle panels around and sheep panels back in.  We use a tractor and blade to drag the straw and manure out of the barn so that it can dry out.

Ryan and Shilo are providing added weight to the blade so it does not skip over the wet straw.  They ride the blade for a short time as I get a good load to pull out of the barn.

While Logan doesn't get to ride the blade he does provide push power.  So after two days of barn cleaning and the barn finally clean it was time to feed Grandma's sheep some cubes.

It is great fun to feed the sheep out the grainery door.  Next week we hope to get sheared.