Sunday, September 26, 2010

The New Year

According to my sheep calendar, our new year begins this week.  At the end of the week, we'll sort our ewes into two breeding groups and turn the rams in with them.  This begins our production cycle once again.  The rams will stay with the ewes for 6 weeks.  When we pull the rams, we'll trim everyone's feet and booster their footvax vaccinations.  Then we have about 6-8 weeks of relative ease (that is, we'll only be moving the ewes onto fresh feed every few days).  After the Holidays, we'll booster the ewes 8-way vaccinations (which will provide some disease protection to their lambs as well).  In early March, our new lambs will begin to arrive.

I look forward to these milestones in our sheep year.  Breeding, lambing, shearing, weaning and harvesting are times when we can take stock of our success as managers.  On Friday, we'll check all of the ewes for body condition (an evaluation of their external fat cover) and for the condition of their feet.  This systematic approach has helped us improve the health of our flock and the productivity of our ewes.  Friday will be a long day, but we'll feel satisfied when we're done.  Over the weekend, we're taking sheep to the KVMR Celtic Festival, and the work this week will make us feel like we've earned a brief vacation this weekend!

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