Despite my prediction to Paul and Alice that we'd have several more lambs today, I found no new mothers during my afternoon rounds. There are two ewes in particular who look very close - maybe they'll lamb tonight (during yet another rainstorm).
Unfortunately, I did find a 2-week old lamb that had died during the day. Sami examined him - she thinks he had a broken neck. We're not sure of the cause - it could have been that he was playing and fell. We're just not sure.
I'm always depressed by the death of a lamb - it feels like a failure in some ways. I can't be with the ewes and lambs all day, every day; even if I could be, there's no guarantee that I could prevent every death. While the loss of a lamb has an economic impact, it runs much deeper than that for me. These are animals that are in my care - I'm responsible for their well-being. To me, the term "animal husbandry" - an old-fashioned term - encompasses the responsibility and emotional attachment that goes with my job. "Shepherd" is another word that I like - it implies a deeper level of caring that simply the dollars and cents of my business.
Here are some photos I hope you'll enjoy! Check out the ears on these lambs!
We also moved the sheep at Whitney Oaks today, which involved a 100-yard ramble down Park Drive in Rocklin. The dogs did fine, but two of the new yearling ewes couldn't figure out where to come through the fence. We had to catch them and haul them in the back of the pick-up. With all of the moisture we've had recently, the grass is going to explode as soon as we have a few warm days - stand back!
Ranchers, myself included, are conservative by nature. I don't mean politically (although this is also true in many cases). Many of...
I spent the last week traveling through northeastern California talking about (and more importantly, learning about) protecting livestock...
My sheep shearer, Derrick Adamache, tells a story about the value of wool 100 years ago. Relatively speaking, wool was worth much more in ...