Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lambing in the soggy spring of 2016

Well we have been lambing for about two weeks and are about half done.  The first days after shearing was windy and dry.  The dust blew and turned the sheep a dreary black color.  The one day the wind blew over  60 MPH.  We were in dire need of some moisture.

Then the weather warmed up and got into the 70's and 80's.  Lambing was looking easy.  Warm days and warm nights.  Marshall was night lambing and had a pretty nice time.  Then it started raining.  We got 0.65" one night and the wind came up, so Marshall had to stay up all night.  Then it got cold and snowed.

This is the scene by the troughs that we grain in.  Sloppy mud with snow on the hill where the sheep are eating hay.  You have to watch the ewes real close and bring lambs to the barn before they get chilled.  By the time it was done snowing and raining for several days we had all totaled 1.75" moisture.  The sun finally came out and dried things out and it got over 80 degrees the one day.  Now today it is raining and snowing again today,  Supposed to be cold and rainy and snowy all week.

The one nice day after I fed the ewes their grain the lambs started playing and running up and around the manure pile.  People ask about the black lambs.  These lambs are Ramboullet and somehow we get a black one every once in a while.

All the family that has an interest in the sheep went together and bought a bum lamb feeder.  It costs a lot of money but we don't have to feed bums.  You hook it up to a water source and fill the hopper with 25 lbs. of powdered milk and plug it in.  It heats the water, adds the milk powder and mixes the two together.  The end product goes through tubes to nipples and the lambs suck milk anytime they want.

Brooke is helping a bum lamb get started sucking.  It could feed three pens at once.  We have one pen of 15 lambs and a second pen with about 6 lambs in.

The grand kids came over last Sunday and helped clean jockey pens and number lambs.

Here I am numbering and Ryan is holding the lamb and two kids are running after numbers and one is watching.  Notice the bright light behind me.  It is a high pressure sodium yard light that burns all the time.  I mounted it in the jockey pen part of the barn.  It really lights things up.

Then in our spare time we drive out in the pasture with the side by side and check for baby calves.  Here is our first born from the cows over here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Shearing in 2016

Last week was cold rainy and windy.  We worked in the barn and got things ready so we could shear the sheep.  By Friday the weather cleared off , but was still cool.   We put in two cutting chutes so that we could divide the sheep in three bunches with one trip down the chute.  So the ones that were sheared in January went one way.  The coming yearlings,  being shorn the first time they have a fine wool for a fleece.   Then the old ewes.

Here Marshall is sorting out to the corral and I am sorting into the barn and the rest go by into the next corral.

The rest of the help, all family and two dogs push the sheep up so they go down the chute.

While all of this was going on a heifer had decided to calf.  She must have been having trouble because she jumped the fence and headed down the creek.  We caught up with her about a half a mile away and brought her back to the corral.  Assisted her with her calf them left her in a make shift pen with the sheep.

The heifer was not too impressed, but there wasn't much she could do about it.

The next day was shearing day.  Five shearers and two helpers showed up to shear and run the sacker and keep the wool moving.  The rest of up kept the sheep moving into the shearing trailer.

The kids, Brooke and Logan found a place to help.  They helped the young lady who run the hydraulic wool sacker.  They tromped the wool into the sacker so that later it would press the wool into the sack

As the work slowed and we were about done, I acquired a helper to help survey the situation.

Some of the finished product that we hauled to Belle Fouche on Monday.