Our new ram, Mr. Seven, is out with our best mothers. That way if it’s cold in January when they are born I will not be as nervous. The marking harness I bought is supposed to be for smaller rams and bucks, it is too big. He is definitely not small for his breed – he’s only six months old and bigger than many of the ewes. Now we are using Crisco and Crayola paint. Either way, it is a huge mess. They are going to be technicolor when it’s over.
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Southdowns have a reputation for being stubborn. Well, we have had terriers for 14 years so I do stubborn! Fortunately, I have been able to use my experience and mistakes in dog training to train my lambs to walk and stand pretty for shows. I use “positive reinforcement.” This means that if the lamb does what I want her to do, she gets a treat. If she does not, no treat. There is no punishment – just the lack of a treat. It might take more time and patience at first but in the long run, but it’s easier for me and for the animal than struggling in the heat, pushing, pulling, slapping, and basically mutton bustin’. How fast you go at first depends on how tame the lamb is to begin with. I will describe how to train one […]
While adult sheep are hardier than lambs, there are still some precautions to take when you bring home an adult ewe, wether, or ram. Since people most commonly bring home ewes, I will be referring to ewes in this article. Sheep are flock animals, and separation from the flock is one of the most stressful things imaginable for a sheep. Anything you can do to make the move less stressful will keep her healthy. Here are some tips based on my experience, the experiences of others, and research papers I have read. Transportation: An adult will fit in a sheep/goat carrier. We can comfortably fit 3 grown ewes in ours, which fills up our pickup bed. Feed: Ewes that are pregnant or lactating should be on a supplemental feed. Ask your breeder what he or she has been feeding, and […]
My friend Cindi wrote an article for examiner.com about Kintraks, the software that she recommended to me and I use as well. Yes, it does all that and the price is great! I downloaded evaluation versions of other, more expensive, programs and they were all extremely difficult to use. I am a nerdy type who usually learns programs very quickly, but I felt overwhelmed. Even if you have a handful of sheep, goats, etc. it is well worth it to get Kintraks.
In 2009 we had a bottle baby, Eve. We were fortunate in that she was never weak – we got her from a breeder at 2 hours old because she was the smallest triplet. She had a nice long drink from mom, and colostrum from our freezer. She grew into a nice, healthy lamb. We had some scouring with the powdered lamb milk replacer (by the way – always use LAMB milk replacer, not “universal” or calf formulas). I was advised by experienced shepherds to try the following homemade formula: 1 gallon whole cow’s milk from the grocery store, 1 cup whole buttermilk (if you can get it – but at least 1% if you can’t), 1 can evaporated (not condensed) milk. Not only is it much less expensive, we have had about 8 oz. gain per day which is […]