Vaccinating little lambs and not-so-temporary fencing

We managed to get all the lambs vaccinated with their initial shots today.  As is the case with many folks who do not farm full-time, we have been trying to change our electronet over to other types of fencing, but we aren’t done yet, so it’s still up.  Our solution to the entanglement issue is boosting the charge with a plug-in charger instead of a solar one. And it’s only on one side instead of two, so that’s a sort of progress.

We also got the shearing for spring done, I may offer some of that in July, it looks much nicer than I thought it would.  I hope to have some more pictures up Monday of the sheared sheep. In the meantime, here is a picture of some ferns.

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Pretty cute ferns!

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Wingus choked to death on electronet

I was able to bail him out a couple days ago, but today he snuck by and we just didn’t catch him in time.  He was tangled where there is a lot of bramble and it’s not easy to see if a sheep is actually tangled or not without stomping out there in the mud and thorns.

No more electronet for us.  This is the first (and hopefully only) death from it, but we’ve had so many close calls with our other sheep that we’re just going to have to put up something else that is higher-hassle to move around for our temporary fencing.

I know it’s our first year (from when we got our initial sheep), and my husband keeps saying that part of starting out even on a small scale is losing animals due to inexperience, but we were really hoping to eat Wingus, he was really massive.  And the punchline is that we don’t know enough about dead animals to know if the meat is salvageable, so he’s going straight in the ground as fertilizer.

I’m just feeling very overwhelmed right now.  My own child is gaining like crazy, if his current gains persist, I’d have a 90lb one year old.  So it’s hard to wait for the old energy levels to get back up.  But it’s good to have a healthy, comically large newborn.

Anyway, we have a lot to learn, and in the meantime our bellies will have to be filled with humble pie as we gain that wisdom from experience.

Rams just won’t stop until they reach the top of the neighbor’s hillside

I am finally starting to feel rested after racing uphill to chase the silly stupid rams.  They have decided the electronet isn’t serious enough and just jump over it or barrel through, as the whim takes them.  So in less than an hour they tore across three different property lines and quite a bit of bramble in pursuit of whatever it is little rams are after when they go roaming.

I spent a good twenty minutes running around in the weeds and blackberries trying to find them and then I get back to the barn to see if some alfalfa will lure them and there they are right next to the barn looking at me like they’d been there the whole time.

So electronet and smart fencing will have to be for ewes only (they never wander, so it can be temporary or permanent for them), and we’ll have to rely on cattle panels for the rams.  Cattle panels are a little too high for them to jump easily, and they seem to actually respect them in general, so they don’t test them in the first place.

I thought I’d be saving my uphill runs for the third trimester, not the start of the second one.

Goat update

The goats are happy with our use of electronet to make temporary paddocks until we set up our permanent perimeter fencing, which will consist of the magic of t-posts and combination panels.  They are thriving on pasture alone, free choice baking soda and free choice minerals.  The grass is really showing their work, we can see our neighbors again instead of a sea of grass seeds and pollen clouds.

They are happy coming in at night to a treat of dandelions and nameless weeds picked out of the driveway or from the side of the barn.  It’s a good thing.

It’s hard to believe it hasn’t even been three weeks yet.  How time flies!