|Vaccination workshop participants learning how to tip the ewes and give injections.|
This past week has marked the last of our major preparations for lambing. Last Sunday, we started vaccinating the ewe flock for enterotoxemia and tetanus - we hosted a workshop for folks interested in raising sheep. Some much needed rain on Sunday afternoon put a halt to our workshop, so we finished up with our vaccinations on Tuesday. While we were giving these injections, we also evaluated each ewe to determine if she needed to be "tagged" - that is, we looked at the amount of manure clinging to her wool on her backside, and the amount of wool on her udder, and decided whether to have this wool shorn. Of our 230 +/- ewes, we marked 93 ewes for tagging.
On Wednesday, I hauled the ewes that didn't need tagging onto fresh feed. Yesterday, everyone else was hauled home. Shortly after 1 p.m. today, our shearer (Derrick) arrived and tagging got underway.
|Ewes awaiting tagging.|
Tagging our ewes serves many purposes. First, by removing the soiled wool, we reduce the chance for infection or other problems in the lambs. Second, removing the soiled wool lessens the possibility of fly strike when the weather warms up in the spring. Third, by removing the wool from the belly and the udder, we increase the likelihood that the ewe's lambs will find a teat instead of a lock of wool.
|Courtney and Josie - along with Matthew Shapero - part of|
our tagging crew!
Now we wait! The first ewes will lamb in the next several weeks. Before we know it, we'll be weaning lambs from their mothers and starting the irrigation water! The year marches on!
|Waiting is tiresome work!|