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Tag Archives: pregnancy testing

To lamb or not to lamb, that is the question

If it’s March, it must be time to pregnancy test. We breed the best of our Rambouillet ewes to Rambouillet rams, thereby ensuring a new crop of replacement ewe lambs, as well as their brothers/cousins. Since purebred whiteface lambs are more vulnerable at birth, especially the twins, we pregnancy check the moms so that the ewes carrying twins can lamb in the sheds. The rest of the Rambouillet ewes are bred to our Hampshire rams. Their lambs have hybrid vigor and usually do fine with drop lambing on the range. Our friend Geri Parsons from Optimal Livestock Services comes up each March at mid-pregnancy to check the ewes and call out “single”, “twins”, “open” and even “triplets”. Meghan and her crew appropriately marked the ewes with a paint dab on their heads to signify their status for later sorting. Geri usually braves chill winds and long drives for several days to accomplish this task. Here’s some photos of this year’s pregnancy checking.

Ewes, waiting for the verdict

Pepe at the chute, Geri’s office in the tent

 

It was REALLY MUDDY!!!

Chris bringing up the ewes

Pregnancy testing crew–Sam the Border collie, Modesto, Maeve, Meghan, Pepe, Tiarnan, Geri, Chris

 

the view from Eagle’s Nest, looking east

 

 

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And what were YOU doing in June?

Heifer waiting for Doctor Ben

Heifer waiting for Doctor Ben

We are lucky to have two young veterinarians, Dr. Ben Noland and Dr. Hallie Noland, in our community. They have opened up Sage Veterinary Services near Baggs, which means that–much as we love them–we don’t have to depend on vets in the distant burgs of Rawlins, Craig and Steamboat Springs. Dr. Ben showed up to pregnancy check our heifers. I told him that he didn’t have to worry about his wife criticizing his dirty clothes at the end of the day.

At breakfast, McCoy informed his dad that he’d rather help preg check than go to kindergarten. Eamon had to explain the new reality to McCoy.

 

That's Dr. Ben at the "rear", with Eamon and Chad assisting.

That’s Dr. Ben at the “rear”, with Eamon and Chad assisting.

She's awaiting the verdict that will determine her future.

She’s awaiting the verdict that will determine her future.

 

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Some are lambing, some are still pregnant

Enjoying the sunshie

Enjoying the sunshine

ewes, lambs and bulls

ewes, lambs and bulls

Pregnancy testing ewes on the Red Desert

Pregnancy testing ewes on the Red Desert

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Animals, Cattle, Sheep

 

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Optimal Veterinary Services works its pregnancy testing magic

Geri getting her gear ready

Geri getting her gear ready

Banjo ewes waiting their turn

Banjo ewes waiting their turn

It’s the time of year when we pregnancy test and vaccinate the ewes in order to get everything organized for lambing. Gerri Parsons from Optimal Veterinary Services came with all her gear and informed us with her cries of “Single”, “Twins”, “Triplets” or the dreaded “Open”. Gerri’s magic with the ultrasound allows us to manage the ewes with mulitple lambs with more feed. We plan to lamb most of these through our new lambing sheds near Dixon. Last year, we were able to save extra lambs when a big spring storm hit, since it is often the twins who are lost to bad weather. The preg testing must be done mid-gestation, so Gerri, Meghan and our crew spent an intense several days studying, marking and handling the ewes.

Geri's office (behind the water barrels)

Geri’s office (behind the water barrels)

Avencio bringing up the sheep

Avencio bringing up the sheep

Brittaney and Cassie bringing up the ewes

Brittany and Cassie on the Red Desert

 

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Optimal Livestock Services and the pregnant ewes

Geri Parsons, Optimal Livestock Services

Geri Parsons, Optimal Livestock Services

Pregnancy testing is one of the veterinary services offered by Optimal Livestock Services–Dr. Cleon Kimberling, veterinarian, and Geri Parsons, vet technician, proprietors.  We ask them to pregnancy test our ewes who are expecting white-faced lambs.  When we know which ewes are carrying twins, we can manage them separately so that they can get extra nutrition and care.  At lambing time, we can make sure they have better shelter because the white-faced lambs are more vulnerable at birth than the cross-bred lambs which have black-faced Hampshire fathers.  You old ag majors remember the lessons about “highbred vigor” which results when different types of sheep, or cows or whatever, are mixed.  The purebreds are less hardy, but they are the lambs which grow into our replacement ewes (or at least the females do).  We need both.

Geri recently showed up to check our ewes, who currently reside on the Red Desert, north of Wamsutter, Wyoming.

Meghan and Pepe bringing in the ewes

Salomon, Meghan, Pepe and Eamon bringing in the ewes

Pepe and Maeve, at work

Pepe and Maeve, at work

Siobhan and Sadie, corral help

Siobhan and Sadie, corral help

Eamon and Tweed, bringing up the ewes

Eamon and Tweed, lending encouragement

preg testing crew:  Richar, Salomon, Pepe, Eamon Geri and Meghan (and Sharon behind the camera!)

preg testing crew: Richar, Salomon, Pepe, Eamon Geri and Meghan (and Sharon behind the camera!)

 

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