Sunday, March 08, 2015


I hate it, I despise it but it has to be done.  If I put a band around the sac the little boys become big docile wool machines.  They can stay with the ewes forever.  Their moms never have separation anxiety.  Intact males become a nuisance and have to go bye-bye.  I have two intact Wensleydale rams and do not need another ram.   I do tails at the same time, along with shots.  Girls get their tails banded.  A long, thick, wooley tail is an invitation for manure packing which invites flies to lay maggot eggs and then the dreaded fly-strike.  Don't want that.  Can't think of a worse thing to happen to a sheep.  I band a little lower than the show people do on the tail.  I like the private parts to be covered.  Just looks right and balanced to me.  If you band too high on the tail the sheep loses some muscles vital to giving birth.  Matt was a BIG help to me today, scooping up the babies from the pens, sitting on a stool and holding them still while I rubbed  the leg with alcohol for the selenium and tetanus shots, soaked the tail (and sac on the boys) with iodine, then placed the bands on.  The tail bands should be placed between joints, not easy to do.  The boys testicles sometimes have not descended far enough and it's tricky to get both balls under the band.  I have to hold the elastrator open and reached through the band to bring the balls down.  One testicle left up and the boy is still able to impregnate a ewe and then - surprise!  I think I have an even number of boys and girls, perhaps leaning to the male side.  I meant to count and forgot.  Four boys remain, one running around the back with mom, two with undescended balls, and one, young Ragnar, just one day old.  I'm still watching him for problems.  He seems sluggish to me.  I listened for raspy breathing but didn't find any.  I haven't seen him nurse yet, so we nursed out mom and gave him a meal.  I think he's just slow after a difficult birth.  Margareta, his mother, is the biggest sheep I have.  She's half Border Leicester and her sire, Zack, was HUGE.  Ragnar should have magnificent fleece.  The whole point of this lambing is to have fewer sheep with more wool.  Think I'm going in the right direction. We'll see. 

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