It's finally the weekend! Even though we only had a three-day school week (thanks to some snow days), it seemed to drag on. With a beautiful, snow-covered day, the kids and I went out to get a few chores done at the barn. After the work, we got out the Polaris and pulled the sleds behind it. The sheep were glad to be fed and a new set of twins were bouncing around exploring the barns and field.
While the feeding gets done, Charlie is always close by. He's not only the guardian of the sheep but his family.
The little ones enjoy each other's company
The last few days have brought on a few more inches of snow and a few more mouths to feed. There are but two more sheep to lamb this round, and our additions to the farm will be slowed for a few months. We have been very fortunate to have several sets of twins and more females than males. The little ones adapt to their new world very quickly and grow so fast. They play with each other, especially when their mothers are busy eating at the feeder. They truly act like kids.
Wow...I know it's been a while since we updated our site. It's been really busy with the holidays and now lambing time. We don't get very many comments about our site, and we thank those that have commented, but if you do like the site please let us know. As I said, it is lambing time and my hasn't it been busy. To date, we have had fourteen lambs, including a few twins and one set of triplets. We still have four more sheep to have their lambs. The weather has been crazy, and of course the lambs started coming when the temps were in the single digits. We will try our best to update more often. Enjoy the new pictures.
To ensure a sheep's good health, they need to only be on the same pasture for no more than three weeks. This allows for parasites from becoming an issue, which is a sheep's worst enemy. So, today we moved them to another part of the pasture which meant moving the division fence. We use temporary fence for now, so it entaled the use of several hands to get it from one field to the other. By this fall, we hope to have permanent fence to partition the different areas, but for now we move it every three weeks. We've got it down to a science, so it's not too hard to do. It just takes time...and plenty of help. The sheep immediately appreciate the new clover they get to devour on their new home, so the move to them is welcomed.
This Saturday found us in the barn bright and early in the morning. The sheep needed weighed, vaccinated, and hooves trimmed. Like most farm animals, a bucket of grain will lead them anywhere you want to take them. The little ones don't pay much attention to the grain, but they will follow their mothers everywhere.
Once the sheep were put in the barn, each sheep was put through the chute to be weighed, vaccinated with CDT, and then placed in the tilt table for a hoof trim. This was one of the first times that we used this new contraption, which was heads and shoulders above the chair we used before. Trying to wrangle 27 sheep into a chair the places them on their back just wasn't appealing anymore, especially now that we have 150+ lb. ewes and one big ram. Besides, they seem to be far more comfortable in the tilt table and the trimmer doesn't have to break his/her back trying to get to all four hooves.
This whole processs took us about 2 hours, while the morning air was still cool. It's easier on the animals and the folks working them to get things done while the sun is coming up.
While we were in the barn, the chickens and the baby chicks were never silent nor still...
Bruce and Amy Fitzwater of Joker Ridge Farm, where life is always busy and front porch swinging is a good way to end the day.