Friday, July 22, 2011

Shearing day - again

Yup,  it was one of the hottest days of summer so far, and what did we do here on the farm?  We sheared sheep.  ( And,  by the way,  around here that's what we like to call the "Royal We".  I didn't actually shear anything. )  The lambs were still wearing their baby fleeces and, in my experience,  they eat better and grow better if they get shorn while we are in the heat of summer.  Plus,  it cuts down on the likelihood their fleeces will have weak tips when shearing time comes around next spring.  I felt bad for the shearers and the lambs, but all I could do was pass out cold water and keep the big barn fans pointed in their direction.
( That's Birdie there on the right.  Think she'll ever grow into those ears ? )
The lambs sired by Henry have the most gorgeous fleeces.  Henry is a Cotswold-Wensleydale crossbred and he passed on the length and luster that are characteristic of those two breeds.   I'm so impressed with those fleeces that I'm planning on keeping many of Henry's daughters for replacement ewes.  I'm afraid Henry's breeding days are over.  It appears he has done permanent damage to one of his back legs and having two strong back legs is an absolute necessity for a flock ram.  I'm grateful that I got such wonderful offspring by him and now wish I had exposed more ewes to him last fall.

Getting those fleeces off gave me a good look at my lambs and there were some I was not happy with.  We've been having the same issue as most other sheep breeders lately.  This hot, humid weather is causing an unusually high parasite population,  which seems to have developed resistance to the de-wormers we use.  Two years ago,  we switched from Ivomec to Valbazen and now that no longer seems as effective.  There is apparently a new de-wormer being used in New Zealand,  but things move very slowly in the world of sheep medicines here in the states,  so we will be waiting a while for that.  Luckily,  our adult sheep aren't as susceptible to internal parasites.  It's only some of the lambs that seem to be suffering.   Next up in our arsenal is Levamisole,  which has become difficult to find because apparently drug dealers are using it to cut cocaine.  Turns out that when humans ingest it, it starts eating away flesh.  Lovely.   
On that note,  I'll leave you with some gratuitous pictures of the Bun.  She is allowed out to run around the studio two or three times a day now.  Still no "accidents".  She is using her litter box all the time.  ( I'm so proud )  Anyway,  sitting on the treadles of my loom is one of her favorite activities.  My loom is a Glimakra and the treadles hang from the lams,  so there is some movement when she's walking around on them,  which she apparently does for the thrill of it.  I guess she's more easily entertained than even I am.


  1. Bun is a dare devil- or dare I say it- a dare bunny!

  2. Love all your pictures of the sheep. That little bunny is so cute.
    Have a great day~! ta ta for now from Iowa:)

  3. Hope everyone gets to feeling better Dianne. I'd love to spin with the group this fall. Someone brought some spun wool to the textile art meeting in Louisville last night and it inspired me to get back on my Ashford Traveller, beginner that I am. Your bunny is a poofy little inspiration too :]

  4. So sorry to hear Henry has an injury. (as I remember, he had a lot to carry back there) So sorry he's not doing well.

  5. Hi Dianne...

    My daughter had great success with her goats by following the advice of Pat Coleby. I know that she has written a book, "Natural Sheep Care", and you can get it on Amazon. Maybe that author will have a suggestion on your wormer. It really is amazing how all those "bugs" are getting used to the medications. Hope this helps!

    p.s. Love your cute "Bun".

  6. I know a lot of my "goat" friends have been losing youngins because of parasites too. I guess we all have this problem.

  7. Similar prob w/ worms in lambs. Adults are more resistant. This heat is really taking a toll - the lambs aren't growing. We don't shear the lambs (can't afford the cost of 300 plus extra sheep being sheared). Hope the heat breaks. We too use Valbazen now. But worms are always a prob.

    Interesting thing on the radio yesterday about worms in humans and crone's disease. Said that when people w/ crone's were given parasites, their crone's disease went away. Amazing.

    Stay cool,

  8. Ugh, she is too cute. Must. Resist. Bunny.

  9. I did some research on natural dewormer for pigs so maybe you can try this on your sheep. (I found this on the Web) Garlic and rosemary to be the most effective. We also use diatamaceous earth which our feed mill mixes directly into the feed so the pigs get the advantage of a continuous natural dewormer, which is supplemented once a month by adding 2 tablespoons of garlic to their feed once a day.

    Good Luck