Tag Archives: labor

Pregnancy checking on Cyclone Rim

Ladies in waiting for Geri.

We raise our own replacement ewes from the best of our Rambouillet commercial ewes. We select about 1500 of these ewes, checking them for fine consistent wool, good body type, twinning, open faces, and other traits. The rest of the ewes, who are good but not as good, are bred to Hampshire (blackface) rams. We breed the replacement moms to the Rambouillet rams that we also raise.
When these lambs are born in May, they are more vulnerable to harsh weather conditions than the cross-bred lambs, who have hybrid vigor. The twin and triplet lambs are more at risk since their Mom has multiple lambs to care for. We have lambing sheds where we can give the ewes and their multiple lambs extra care and shelter. It is key to know which ewes are carrying the valuable and vulnerable twins and triplets.
Luckily for us, we can call on Optimal Veterinary Services to test our ewes mid-pregnancy. We set up our corrals, and Geri Parsons’ testing tent, on top of Cyclone Rim—a high range on the Red Desert. That’s where Avencio and his sheep are. The winter has been dry, so we have moved up chasing snowdrifts for water for the sheep. Geri, and her partner, Dr. Cleon Kimberling, “have lab, will travel”. Doc didn’t come this time (too far to ride his bike!), but we gathered employees and family members to work as the ground crew. We were lucky to have good weather with almost no wind—not always the case on Cyclone Rim!
Geri set up her tent next to the chute. As each ewe stopped, she checked them with an ultrasound machine, then called “single”, “twin”, “triplet”, and occasionally “open”! We then marked each ewe. The ewes pregnant with multiples will be sorted into a separate bunch when we shear in a few weeks. Then they will head to the lambing sheds for TLC.

Cora and Sadie on the job

view from the back

guard dog on the job


Siobhan and Tiarnan sorting

Tiarnan in Geri’s chute

Siobhan at the chute

Tiarnan with the sorting flag

Pat and Tiarnan behind the sheep

Meghan and Oscar working the chute, Geri’s tent in place

Brian working the chute

A perfect day on Cyclone Rim

Maeve,Meghan and Tiarnan

Day’s end





Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Modesto trailing sheep across the Adams bridge

This spring, shearing was a process, not an event.  In order for our spring schedule to go smoothly, the shearing crew needs to be done by May 1st.  This gives us time to trail in an orderly manner to our lambing grounds, which takes four or five days.  This year the crew showed up on April 30th.

It has been a phenomenally dry spring, so they had not been delayed by weather.  Two reasons accounted for their late appearance.  Our long-time shearing contractor had retired to his farm in New Zealand, along with his wife, a wool-packer extraordinaire, his three-year-old daughter and their newborn twin sons.  The gentleman who took over his business was not nearly as experienced or efficient.  In addition, our government’s jihad against legal foreign workers has taken its toll on shearing crews.  Our crew did an excellent job, but was much slower than we were used to.

This year’s shearing, which lasted two weeks, took us into lambing, which starts May 8th.  We had pregnancy tested many of the ewes in March, so we sent the ewes pregnant with twins on to the lambing grounds.  This meant they trailed, heavy with lambs and with wool, and were sheared while they were beginning to lamb, on our private land on the lambing grounds.

Luckily for shearing, but unluckily in general, we lost only one day to rain.  It was the only rain that came in a month.  Hallelujah—we finally finished and were able to get on with the business of lambing.

guard dog watching sheep on the trail

waiting for the shearers

Sheep wagons at Badwater

Shearers at work

Shorn ewes in front of portable shearing shed

Amanda carrying wool to the mechanical packer

Maeve and Tiarnan on the wool bales

Stacking the wool bales

Tiarnan and ewe check each other out

Pepe, Dunkin and Siobhan

Afrenio and Pepe help Maeve practice mutton busting

Maeve and Seamus with the guard dog puppies

Modern sheepwoman: Meghan on cell phone

The first twins


Tags: , , , ,