Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tag, You're It!

No, this isn't a meme, it's what Dan and I did this weekend: We tagged all eleven lambs and also gave them their CDT vaccinations, checked their general health and wormed those who needed it. It was quite the scene, I tell you! Lots and lots of sweat, fleece and scrambling.

Here the sheep wait their turn. (While they wait, they're not above a little nosh.)

We'd expected that after a few weeks out on the pasture, our flock would be impossible to catch. Lately, they've skittered away as we approach. This is a big change from the docile, needy ewes of late pregnancy and young lambhood. Nowadays, "the girls" don't need us and they know it. We thought we might have to bring in the big guns... or big DOGS at least... to chase the flock back to the barn, but Dan was able to lure the entire flock into the barn with a bucket of grain. (Suckers!)

I just recently watched an episode of 30 Days in which an avid hunter goes to live with a family of PETA activists and was troubled by the scene where livestock handlers grabbed terrified calves by tails and legs and whatever and shoved them into the back of a truck. This is exactly the thing that we hope to avoid contributing to, the reason we are raising our own meat and buying from local farmers. That said, someone watching Dan and I catch and vaccinate our flock might have felt we were as cruel as the folks on the video. There is-- far as I can tell-- no pretty way to catch a sheep. We were mindful of the sheep, as caring and non-terrifying as a couple of humans with syringes and wormers can be. Does intent count?

This is six year old Anna's view of the proceedings:

Not so pretty, eh?

At any rate, it was good to get a close up of the lambs. Cedar, Cora and Caroline really impressed us-- they are growing like gangbusters! And Chance (AKA "Clowny boy") was a real sweetie. Unperturbed by the hubbub, he sucked up his Selenium E gel as if it was a bottle. We really like this boy!

Sadly, we discovered that Acorn's beautiful little guy, Cole, has definite scurs. (Scurs are underdeveloped horns that can break off grow in all sorts of directions, and become infected) We're going to keep an eye on their severity as he grows. Such a shame as he is a gorgeous, shiny, shiny black lamb. Louise's Connor has little patches that may also grow into scurs (Durn it!) This is our first season breeding polled animals and so, though this is "par for the course" as far as polled sheep go, we are bummed out about it.

Overall though, the flock is looking nice and healthy. Here's Champ:


Anonymous said...

Ah, yes -- I remember one time, we were expecting some visitors who wanted to see the sheep, gentle town people who had to go out and buy the rubber boots I suggested they would need. We decided to worm that morning, and thought we would be finished before the visitors arrived. Ha. No such luck. Animals get caught on their own schedule, not ours! When the city folks arrived and we spotted them making their way through our orchard to us, we were just shoving a llama against the wall, one of us forcing his head up so he couldn't spit down on the other, and stabbing his unwilling hide with a series of syringes. He was making horrible llama noises and we were grunting like farmers. When we let him go and I turned around to greet the folks, I realized I had llama spit and worm drench all over my front, and was waving a big fat syringe at them. Welcome to the farm!


P said...

:) Oh, yes! I've been there (Well, aside from the llama spit anyway)


woolies said...

I want to be a sheep/llama farmer! For now, I must content myself with numerous dogs, cats and two horses who think they are dogs.

If you want to see one of the animals I knitted with your wonderful icelandic yarn, drop by my blog and see the teddy who is going off on a wholesale order. I love your yarn and will be back for more soon!

P said...


That bear is adorable! So much personality! I'm glad we could contribute :)


Christy said...

Such beautiful sheep! They can carry on like they are being tortured when you know what you are doing isn't that bad.

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