Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Sorting sheep....

Today was a big day for us  -- the day we reap our harvest.
All the ewes and lambs were brought into the sheep corrals and we sorted off the lambs from the ewes.  

We also sorted out the best of the ewe lambs which will become replacement ewes.  Each year we must sort off the cull ewes that are no longer productive or have various health issues that will not allow them to stay in the herd.  Sometimes a ewe gets so old that her teeth get bad enough that she can no longer graze and won't be healthy enough to produce a lamb, or she will become lame and cannot travel with the herd.  Other ewes have spoiled udders that won't allow them to raise their lambs.  All of these are culled and the ewes sold at the sale barn.  

The rest of the ewes that make the cut will remain in the herd and raise lambs this coming spring.  The replacement ewe lambs will go into the herd to "replace" the culled ewes and become producing females for us. Some of our yearling ewes will raise a lamb in the spring, but some won't be quite mature enough to raise a lamb, but will remain in the herd and produce the following year.

All the other lambs will be sold.  Tomorrow is Pay Day for the kids (since they own the sheep) and becomes the RKCF, the ranch kids college fund.  Our oldest son doesn't need a college fund anymore, but since he has a family, he has his own children to spend money on.
  There were two cull lambs found in the herd today -- one was lame and one had a neck problem.  Since injured lambs get docked severely at the sale barn, we will take them straight to the butcher where they will become lamb chops and other lamb delicacies for our family table.

Hubby counts the ewes out the gate.

 Looky what I saw on the fence.
  Lady Bug.

 And this handsome garden spider (black & yellow argiope) caught my eye on the ground near the walk-through gate.  Isn't he fancy?
Thanks for stopping by today!


  1. G'day Gumbo Lily. Great photo's once again. I had a friend once who had sheep and when they were due to go to the butcher she would put a bottle of beer or something similar in their drinking trough. Her theory was that the sheep would be drunk and wouldn't know what was happening to them. I must admit I like that idea and have always remembered it. Take care. Liz...

  2. I suppose this is the ruthless side to farming. I am full of admiration, as always!

  3. Oh, I LOVE the sheep pictures. I love that picture of your hubby at the gate. A shepherd. Cool! What a post! My favorite kind. Sending love your way, Jody-friend!

  4. I love sheepie pictures too. (Although it's sad to think about them as lamb chops LOL.) Don't they have sheepie dentists who fill cavities and provide crowns so the sheepies can still graze??? Do your sheep make good wool? I was surprised to learn in Scotland that a lot of Scottish wool isn't good enough for yarn -- it's used for matresses, etc. There's so much about sheep to learn!

  5. That is what my grandparents did for me too, they bought a cow for me when I was about 5 or 6 and the money from her calves went into my college account. If it was a heifer, she stayed and then I had two cows. I like the sheep idea too. Such a nice way to grow up I think. I like your pictures of the spider and the ladybug.

  6. Hope they get a good price for their lambs. My father barbecued the tastiest lamb chops last Friday for my 48 year old siblings birthday (twins) We love lamb...

  7. Liz,
    I never thought about pouring beer into the water trough before butchering day.

    I'm not sure that the selling/butchering is ruthless, it's how we eat.

    Pom Pom, We love our sheep too.

    Miss Thimble, I know of no sheepie dentists. Our wool is very good quality and we usually get a premium price for it. Other course wooled sheep are used for making rugs and such.

    Farmgirl, Our kids have also had cows. They each got one when they were about 5 years old and received the income she generated from calves.

    Ellen, I'm glad to hear that your family eats lamb. It's delish.

    As always, I appreciate your comments.


  8. What a productive ranch you have! It's fascinating to me (the silly city girl wanna be farmgirl). Your place is so very full of life!

    Blessings, Debbie

  9. I love reading about your ranching life. I've never been around sheep but our daughter's family has two ewes and I was amazed at how quickly the lambs grow.

  10. Not a fan of lamb but I enjoyed the photos of them.

  11. I cannot imagine looking at a sea of lambs and then sorting them. But I am sure it is old hat for your family. What a wonderful way for your kinds to make money. Smart idea xoxo Clarice

  12. I've been knitting a lot lately, so seeing your sheep makes me think of all the wonderful sweaters they might make. They knit,too, right?


  13. I like the beer idea...but I'm thinking I would have to put it in my "trough". =)


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