Monday, November 10, 2008

Sheepy Thoughts

Wow. Welcome winter!

We still haven't had any snow. Apparently everwhere around us to the west, south and east got some, but we didn't. I'm not complaining. Yes I still do snow removal and that is 'money falling from the sky' but its always very stressful during snow removal.....always trying to do an excellent job, while maintaining a fast speed to get everyone out of their driveways in a timely fashion.

I digress.

I let the mature ewes out into a 'new' pasture that hadn't been grazed since August. Wow has that grass grown! The girls were excited too and quite ravenous. I went to the barn to bring them in and the smell of grass being burped up was in the air. I love the smell of green grass being cut (not so sure I like it when its belched up though!)

I've been on the fence about breeding groups.....how many to breed, how many to breed to purebred, how many to bred to the BFL ram, etc.

Even though my girls are still on grass, I've been feeding hay once a day...usually in the evening as a supplement to the grass.....its not as nutritional this time of year (and the fact its been freezing hard every night here doesn't make it grow any faster).

The girls are in good condition. Martin Dally our AI tech told me they were a little pleasantly plump so i've cut back on the hay a bit, but they are still looking good.

The ewe lambs (the ten smaller ones under 50 pounds) are in a seperate area so they gain not have to compete with the bigger girls for their hay. A couple times a week I do give them 1 scoop of alafala pellets to add a little bit more nutrition. They are all looking good. I plan to put them in with their breeding groups if they are over 40 pounds, and when they are done in their breeding groups, put these 10 girls back together for the winter and let them grow without having to fight for their food.

The BFL ewes/ewe lambs are in a seperate pen getting their hay and pellets away from the Shetlands. The Bfls can get quite aggressive over their hay and pellets so I moved them to their own group. I'm also hoping that the 80+ pound ewe lambs will be cycling later and will put the BFL in with all the BFL ewes around December 1st. Anything that doesn't cycle, oh well. Those that do, yipee! I've heard the longwools mature slowly too and that typically there is around 50-60% cycling in ewe lambs. Time will tell.

The mature rams are so fiesty! Jazz and Barish are a tag team of love and then hate towards the BFL ram lamb and the ram lambs from Theresa and my own Lyons. Once minute they love them, and trying to court them, and then the next they are backing up to bash them. Boys!

The 'smaller' boys are in a seperate pen so as to not have to compete for their food either. They are Also just as fiesty and they all have abherent horns as well, or slow growing horns or long scurs or whatever. But they are still using them to knock each other around. Boys!

And then my last four Pygmy goat girls are in another pen in another barn. Their Scrapie status is seperate from the sheep, but I'm not sure I'm going to stay in the Scrapie program, now that there is no other benefit besides being "Certified" to be in the program. It was never my goal to have a certified flock and I've found most of the other Shetland breeders have already withdrawn to just the mandatory group.

That's 6 pens already with a 7th for the miniature horses (anyone need/want a few registered minis?)

I plan on using Barish, Jazz, and possibly Arapaho this fall and then of course Burma, the English Blue/natural colored BFL ram.

I already have to break ice and haul water all over the place, so what's a few more pens? Plus I'm a big, young guy who has nothing else to do during the day than to break open the water tubs :) lol

I'll have my final groups posted shortly. Thanks to those who have offered their opinion on which ewes THEY want with what ram :) I should have some exciting stuff next year! And I'm open to trading too!

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