The rams hang around for ten and a half months, waiting for the day when they are called to go to work, fathering lambs for the next season. We put the bucks in over a period of days and weeks. We figure that the first bucks to go in with the ewes are getting tired, so we send reinforcements. They sometimes resent being worked through the chutes, but are happy to jump out of the trailers to join the ladies. When we were loading them, I said, “Hop in boys–all the corn you can eat.” Meghan said, “All the ladies you can breed!” I added, “…and all the wind you can tolerate.” Such is the life of a buck in the winter.
Tag Archives: ewes
The ides of December means that it’s time to put the rams in with the ewes. Romance in December brings lambs in May. A sheep’s gestation is five months less five days. I wish we could predict now just when the shearers will arrive and what the weather will be like on the 10th of May.
July 1st is the on-date for our cows and calves, and ewes and lambs to enter their grazing permits on the Routt National Forest. Since there are several herds, they trail on in stages over several days. We do a lot of planning amongst our crew, with our Forest Service range conservationists, and with the neighbors.
We also work with the Range Cons regarding trailing dates to give them to opportunity to count on, if they wish, and to coordinate the trailing of other permittees who have the same on date. Since it’s mid-summer, we have to start at sunrise so that we can be on the Forest before the heat of the day sets in.
When most of the lambs are on the ground, we are faced with the next big task–docking. This is a major job which involves handling each and every lamb which has recently been born–giving it an earmark, castrating it if it is a male, judging if it is replacement quality if it is a female, vaccinating for enterotoxemia and tetanus, cutting the tail, and last, but not least, stamping on a paint brand. This operation involves a lot of moving parts with a lot of coordination of critters and people. It calls for all hands and the cook!