Sunday, June 12, 2011

Working sheep....

Saturday we worked sheep.  We got all the sheep in -- the ewes and lambs-- and brought them to what we call The Shearing Pens where our sheep corrals are.  The big dilapidated shed in the background is where they used to actually shear over 1000 sheep back in the Good Old Days.  Mexican shearing crews came here and camped for several days.  Their women cooked for them and Grandpa said that they usually butchered a mutton or two to feed themselves during their stay.  This was before my time here, but I do remember two shearings when we still had the Mexican shearing crews, and after that we went to the "White Crews" that were made up of Australian shearers who were teaching American men their methods of shearing which were far different from the Mexicans'.  Nowadays we employ local shearers who learned from the Australians.  During the busy times, our locals pick up some Australian chaps to join them which makes for fun dinner conversations.  Actually, all conversations with sheep shearers tend to be very colorful and interesting.

Our mission on Saturday was to run the ewes and lambs down the alley and then sort the lambs from the ewes down the sorting chute which is a little wooden gate that swings between the narrow alley.  Ewes run out and the lambs sort sideways into another pen.
Medicating the lambs
We gave the each lamb a dose medicine to de-worm them.  It will keep them healthy and allow them to gain weight without hindrance on our lush spring pastures.  We could have wormed the ewes, but we didn't.  Actually, the sheep didn't look "wormy" at all.

We had bred our yearling ewes to lamb the end of May and first week or two of June.  We knew that not all of the yearlings would lamb, but the additional lambs are kind of a "bonus" to us.  We docked 17 head and there were three other sets of ewes & lambs out in the pasture that were brand new that we left alone.  We aren't sure yet how many more lambs we will end up with by summer.  Don't these lambies look little and scrawny compared to the February lambs below?

February lambs

click photo to enlarge
Would ya look at this pasture?  Don't the sheep look content in their green pastures?  I could just watch them forever.

The seaman tells stories of winds, the ploughman of bulls; the soldier details his wounds, the shepherd his sheep.   ~Laurence J. Peter


  1. boy, that's really interesting about the Australian shearers. And if you separate the sheep from the ewes, do they have any problem finding each other again when they are all reunited? Btw, my hollyhock looks like it might bloom again this year? I thought they only bloomed every other year?

  2. Oh, Jody! I love the lambs. They have the sweetest looks on their faces. That's the look I want to have on my face!
    Did I tell you that Bird and Bug have lovey lambs that they sleep with? Bug has an old puppet lamb from my birthday clown days. She's so attached to it and we can't find a replacement. Bird has a beanie lamb which is much harder to keep track of. They take my lambs! I have just one left!
    I hope you rested. You are a hard working girl. (LOVE!)

  3. We have a small flock,(17 ewes), but so enjoy each year when the lambs are in the is a beautiful sight!

    Have a great week!

  4. What a peaceful sight seeing them enjoying that green field. Just looking at their sweet faces makes me smile!

  5. Oh, Jody - that last photo is just elegant. It should be turned into a watercolor painting. Beautiful! I like the contrast in texture b/t the field and the sky, with the sheep in between. The lambs are adorable :)

  6. It's all true, what the other commenters have said...the faces, the herd grazing like a painting. And a lot of backbreaking work goes into keeping a flock around to enjoy!

  7. Sheep.....I love all that goes with them. So happy to come across your site. A few yrs back I also raised them and so I really enjoyed the pics!


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