mercredi 24 mai 2017

Another lamb and sheep shearing

After making a few more additions to the sheep shelter - an outside fenced area, gate and rainwater tank, we headed off to collect sheep number 4. A ewe lamb (the remaining lambs from our first purchase have still not been caught!). 4 months old and two tone, we decided to call her "Apache". I carried her down to the field and put her in with the other three, who completely ignored her. She, having been snubbed by her new field mates, immediately made a run for it into the woods. Without a bell or ear tags we could easily have lost her if we'd lost sight of her. 15 minutes of running through dense undergrowth and I eventually succeeded in "heading her off at the pass" and catch a hold of her. This time I put her in the new sheep shelter and locked the gate. A few shocks from strand of electric fence pinned to the fenced area trained her to stay within the fences next time.

The other sheep were still completely disinterested in her so in the end I caught William and dragged him into the shelter with the other sheep following him. In fact it was the first time they'd entered, having been too cautious to go in. A bit of mutual smelling and they were all friends.

Now we had them all penned in, we decided now was a good a time as any to shear them, check their feet and put collars and bells on them. Much easier with a smaller sheep and an extra pair of hands, we soon had the two year old (or more) matted coats off William and Moe-Chee, Apache and Comfrey just need collars and bells. Ear tags and de-worming will wait for another day.

All shorn

We kept the sheep in overnight to bond, then today they've been free to come and go, which they have been, having decided that they rather like the shelter for sitting in the shade, away from the flies and chewing the cud.

1 commentaire :

gabriele gray a dit…

Were I a sheep I would think your place was heaven, and then some. A friend used to breed, raise & show goats and her attitude was: We take them from their natural environment so we have a responsibility as long as they're with us to give them a good life and then a good death. She also commented a bit wryly, unlike the way we treat our fellow humans. She had one doe, great for milk, not for show but she wouldn't sell her when people wanted a good milk goat, she swore Matilda had a sense of humor and she needed someone around like that (her husband was rather dour). I saw the same thing and when I went to visit I'd fill the back of my VW Rabbit (back seat out) of good trimmings from our place...she loved the young blackberry and wild rose vines and the owner said they were ok for goats (no spray). After the first trip Matilda recognized the sound of my car (the place was on a mountain side, rather like yours) and came running. No sooner had I parked and opened the back hatch than she climbed in and as she ate, she also defended HER vines and kept the other goats away. She never soiled the car but she did a great job of defoliating the vines. I brought them home to soak, and later use for rough baskets or wreaths.
I've never been around sheep and I know they're different from goats but I'm sure they have their own personalities.
And seeing yours reminded me of a book I got after reading a review in the Independent ten or so years ago. It's about sheep. You may have already read it. My copy has made the journey from friend to friend, as good books should. Here's a link to the review:
When I lived in the area where the goat lady was, there were wild elderberries also, but people tried to make wine from the berries. And then give bottles of it for Xmas gifts. It was truly god-awful. Seems there were recipes for both elderberry blossom and elderberry berry wines, so people went for the berries. They couldn't add enough lemons to cut through the foxy taste and the sediment would have done justice to a several hundred year old grape wine taken from an old cask. Seeing what you've produced redeems that poor shrub as a useful one for me now. No more bad associations.