Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas Chores

Our work at this time is primarily in the barn.
At Christmas time we get the barn in order for the ewes who are due to lamb in January.
The manure is taken out,
the pens are set up,
the lambing jugs are checked and new straw is placed in them.

The sheep are sorted, those who are due to lamb are seperated out and are housed in the barn.
Here they get additional feed and attention.
The ewes that are lambing in March and May are sent packing back to their winter corral.

But, before they can do that we like to weigh them all.
We then draft out the ones with a poor body condition, (even if they are not preganant)
they can stay inside with the pregnant ewes for additional feed.

The first lambing group also get weighed, registered and vaccinated.

Once they have all been weighed and their RFID  tages read and registered, they can head on out again.
This is always a good moment to make sure that every sheep on the place is weighed and ear tag is checked.
Sometimes animals lose their tag, and get new ones during the year,
however because I am not sure what the old number was (as its tag was lost..) we end up with a bunch of "phantom sheep" in our management program.
By reading every animal on the place,
replacing lost tags and then
"cleaning up" the data,
you have a nice up to date list for the new year!

Luckily, the kids have Christmas holidays now, so they are helpful doing all these chores!
Here Jess, scans the last pen of feeder lambs.
These are not run through the drafting crate as the group is small and they get weighed weekly in any case.

The breeding rams are then turned out with the ewes to ensure that the next group will lamb in May.

After all this, a new equilibium needs to be found.
The amounts of feed, number of bales and the order in which the work needs to be done
needs to be worked out.
Finding this new balance always takes a few days and then away we go again.

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