Now that I’m back on my feet more, choretime is a bigger proportion of my day.
In the morning, I first check the status of the bales we are feeding. Right now, we are feeding some mediocre first-cut hay, so we give the sheep pretty free-access to their chow. While they eat, I have the opportunity to look at them closely. Some of the older ewes show their pregnancy quite plainly, with sagging tummies and udders just starting to bloom. Others, especially the Border Leicesters, look like the same chubby sheep as before. Fred sniffs a ewe now and then, but even he seems certain that they’re all set.
If we need more hay, Matt will bring it in with the tractor. But I will check the water. Through trial and error, we’ve determined that “three” is the optimum number of 22-gallon heated waterers. The sheep always muck them up with hay after a few days, so I clean one or two waterers out completely every day to prevent slimy buildup. Yuck.
Outside of the main barn, we have two pairs of sheep in special quarters. Because Fred would fight our other two rams, “Bob Loblaw” and “Oliver” have a suite all their own with a cozy stall and a small outdoor area. Oliver has an intestinal issue at the moment, so he’s getting daily Pepto Bismol to top off his hay ration.
We also have two Border Leicester lambs that we noticed weren’t competing well for food. They are very timid and retiring and had become too thin. They now have a stall of their own where they can enjoy regular grain feeding.
A significant but pleasing change between this year and last is our ability to properly house our rams and separated ewes. Instead of a tent in the back yard, they have a safe, enclosed building that effectively breaks the wind. Because of this, we can maintain unfrozen water for them and monitor their health more closely. After losing a ram to bladder stones possibly caused by dehydration over the winter, we are glad to have the correct facilities now.