Once the lambs are on the ground, it is time to think about docking them. This means that each bunch is gathered into a large pen. The lambs are dropped into a smaller pen, then are passed along an assembly line, where they are earmarked, the males are castrated and they are placed into the Dinkum Docker, a sort of slide. There they are vaccinated, their tails are removed with a hot knife (which cauterizes the wound), daubed with pine tar (which disinfects and keeps the flys away) and daubed with a paint brand. Soon they are looking for Mom, who is also looking for them.
Monthly Archives: June 2012
Our bellwether, Dunkin, is missing. He was with the yearling sheep in the Badwater pasture, northeast of Dad, Wyoming. Last year we got a report of a sheep and a dog along the highway near Dad. It turned out to be Dunkin and a guard dog, heading south. We think that he decided he’d rather be with the lambing ewes north of Dixon, Wyoming and headed out. He apparently didn’t convince a guard dog to go with him. We are hoping that someone will spot him, and that he hasn’t become someone’s meal.
Last spring we could hardly find suitable days to brand calves. Every day dawned cold and rainy. Each day that looked like maybe it wouldn’t rain, we had to chose between docking lambs, branding calves and fixing fence (among other things). This year is the opposite. Each day is unrelentingly warm and dry. While this gives us lots of suitable days, the weird weather has compressed seasonal work in its own way. We had to start irrigating when we were still branding. The fences are in much better shape than last year, when near record snow crushed them to the ground. The early dry up and green up, with no following rains, has meant that fences have to be in good shape for early turn out. And everyone is scrambling to take care of the early growth of feed, since it appears that not much regrowth is likely when we come back to fall pastures.
Except for the late calves, we have finally gotten all the calves branded and ready for their rotation to summer pasture on the Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests.