Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Tough Day, and Looking Past It

On Friday, when I went out to chore in the morning, I found a dead lamb and my smallest ewe with its neck broken, but still alive. I am not sure what happened, but I suspect that the ram killed them. He likely hit the ewe while she was at the feeder and caught her head in it. This is all speculation, but I know there was no predation involved. I removed the ram from the ewes and removed the dead lamb and dying ewe.  I also blocked up the ewes and their lambs so they could not congregate with the rest of the ewes and risk injuring their lambs.

This incident with the sheep, was likely brought on by the sheep being bottled up inside for the last two months. The sheep are now going outside during the day. The ewes and lambs have a large separate outdoor pen adjacent to the ram and cattle pen. The weather has been a bit warmer, and that is allowing  the sheep to move around outside and get some fresh air. My only problem with the sheep outside is the ram has been chasing the cattle around and guarding the hay so they can't get any. It is very hard to work in the cattle and ram pen as well. The ram has too much room to move around, so he is prone to charging. I have been hit before in a confined space so I am not interested in what he could do with some  room to build up some speed. I had to bring the ram inside last night, into his own pen, just so I could get some hay moving done outside with the cows.

Some of the ewes outside eating hay with the ram on the other side of the fence

The loss of the little ram lamb was very disappointing. The ewe was not an impressive animal and was likely destined to leave the herd this spring anyway. I tried to treat the loss of the ewe as a learning experience. She did pass away a few hours after I found here. That night, my neighbor came over and we (pretty much all him) dressed her out. I am not a hunter, but I have an interest in learning about deere hunting and dressing, but I have never been involved in the process before. I audited a meats course in college, primarily to build some vocabulary and become conformable with some of the processes, but we never actually disassembled an animal.  The ewe had hardly any meat on her. My neighbor and I were both surprised how little she had. Fattening up on several months of spring grass would have helped, but  it would have made her into something I would feel comfortable selling. Both of my remaining lambs look more substantial then the ewe that we dressed out ever did.

I am pleased to report that  Super Tom turkey is doing better. He has been in a quarantine pen since my last blog post. I was afraid I was going to lose him, but I forced him to drink and then eat and treated him with some Penicillin. His is doing better now, but is not ready to leave his pen yet. Since Super Tom was treated with Penicillin, he will never be a food animal. I doubted that I would ever eat him anyway, but this seals that deal.

On other news, I have been chainsawing in the timber making a path for the fence and clearing out junky elms to make way for some more pasture. There are numerous stacks of logs and separate piles of limbs all over the place. I look forward to getting the stump grinder out there, the limbs burned, and the logs removed and stacked for drying. There will likely be some seeding work to do after that, but we will start  to have more functional pasture at our disposal near our buildings.

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