Sunday, May 2, 2010

Getting Ready to Shear

This past week has been a mad dash to prepare for shearing our sheep.  With the rainy April we've had, our shearer has had to delay his trip to our operation.  We're finally scheduled to shear on Monday and Tuesday.

We're shearing at our home place this year.  On Monday, we hauled 8 loads of ewes and lambs from Lincoln to Blossom Hill Farm in Auburn.  On Friday, we hauled these sheep to our home pasture.  Yesterday, we hauled 2 loads of yearling ewes home from Loomis.  We set up portable fences at a neighbor's (where the sheep will go today), cleaned out our horse stalls (where we'll shear), and hauled equipment from other ranches.  Today, we'll finish setting up our shearing pens and corrals, and we'll sort off about 140 head to be shorn tomorrow.

Since we'll have all of our sheep and guardian dogs in one place for the next several days, we'll take the opportunity to do a few things in addition to shearing.  We'll put all of the lambs through a footbath to prevent foot scald and foot rot.  We'll treat all of the sheep for external parasites.  We'll groom the guard dogs in preparation of summer heat and stickers.

Later in the week, we'll sort the sheep into several groups and resume our spring contract grazing work.  We'll send sheep to the historic Chinese cemetery in Auburn, as well as to several private homes.  We'll also start irrigating pastures to keep them green through the summer.  Our next big chore comes in late May, when we'll wean and vaccinate all of the lambs.

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