Critters

The a.m. shift

So i am awoken  this morning at 2 am,to the sounds of serious loud barking and think to myself @&%$#* dogs ,should i really get out of bed and see what’s going on.I mean our dogs are known to go on barking  tangents at any given time of the day,and usually at things that aren’t attention worthy.But my need to console my worries gets the best of me(forgot to mention we had four of our neighbors young bulls come over a day ago)so i figured they might be in with the girls by this morning.Anyways back to the story.As i lay in bed i did what any groggy,half asleep,exhausted,butt kicked from previous days chores,annoyed from being woken from a good dream person would do,i slightly pushed the curtains open  with my finger to see what was up(as if i could see anything in the pitch black) and to my surprise saw a big dark bovine outline outside my bedroom window,damn i thought this is how my day is gonna’ play out.Well the first thing i did was lay back down,i guess i figured the bulls finally made their way through all the fences so might as well rest up till later this morning as i will need all my energy for the big bull parade,but something inside me said get your butt out of bed and check it out.So with many colorful words racing in my mind i quickly pulled on my pants and other warm clothing (did a last check to see if the wife was awake and wanted to help,yeah right) and went to see my fate.Well imagine my surprise when i came out the door to see my own cows running around kicking their heels up and eating freely from the hay pile!This scenario which isn’t a new one if you’ve read my previous blogs was most annoying because they where in their pasture last night at feeding time and through error of my own had escaped out of a hole (the last in a fence we were fixing) and that i had assured my wife would be fine till we got back to it in a day our two was blasted open,i should have known better since  my cows are exceptional escape artist and nothing in a fence goes unnoticed.Well i ended up chasing them back and forth for about 30 minutes in the dark through the west pasture,and into a drainage ditch till i got them lined out on the fence and pushed back into the pasture that they had come from and quickly put a panel over the big gap in the fence till morning light,but now i can’t go back to sleep so here i am.Moral of the story is don’t put off till tomorrow what needs done today, unless you’re a really heavy sleeper!Now where are those bulls?!

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Categories: Cows, Critters | Tags: | Leave a comment

The ups and downs of lambing time

This last week our small flock of ewes have been lambing ,seemingly (because of the impending bad weather).It occurs to me sheep always seem to wait for the evening, as soon as i arrive from my day job to lamb after I’ve worked 10 hours in town and commuted 2 hours. Much to their credit and to my bottom line,it probably makes more sense for me to be there to help out in any problem situations that may, and always seem to present themselves,even though my wife is more than capable of handling most situations independently .They say lambs are born,just so they can die on you,and there’s a lot of truth to that(we’ve personally lost two),and it takes quite a bit of time and money to get one on the ground.This week has been no exception,the first ewe to lamb delivered a set of twins,and when that happens there always happens to be one of the two that has the potential to become a candidate for  bummer lamb.Feeding a lamb for 30 days on a bottle is not a position i want or cherish all that dang much quite frankly,even though I’ve had several opportunities to buy such lambs at a significant bargain.My thoughts lately have been tied around whether i should keep a ewe back for another breeding cycle if she lambed out and the lamb was lost ,due to twins she could not take care of  or weak lambs that didn’t make it,which unfortunately has happen twice this week.I love my girls immensely(nothing cuter than lambs running around) but i am trying to come to grips with the reality of running a profitable and sustainably viable agricultural enterprise,in other words if you cost me money and don’t produce something i can sell,then does it make good business sense to give you a pass,with the potential for another loss?One of the many challenges of being a small producer with small numbers of  livestock.When you’re just building a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep,you don’t want to cut any of the animals in the crucial building stage,but you also don’t have the luxury of keeping back unproductive animals that aren’t generating a income.So that’s this weeks dilemma .On a more positive note, the lambs that have made it are doing great and the last ewe looks like a candidate for twins,so we’ll see what she does.Most likely that scenario will go down this evening,when it starts raining.Better get they bottles ready to roll.

Categories: Critters, Farming, Lambs, Ranching | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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