Friday, June 1, 2007

Perry Goes to Work

It's time to put the sheep milking on hold. I've read that a lactating ewe will not get pregnant (I've also heard that about humans, but we know that isn't true!). The timing was right, so I stopped milking Jamie the day before we went on our Shasta vacation.

Poor thing! I knew she would have a very large udder when we got home and she did. She looked at me at feeding time and I could tell she was wondering how come we didn't go into the barn so she could have grain and get milked.

Poor Jamie! Very uncomfortable with swollen udder.

It's time now to put Perry back with the girls. Jamie, Baby, and Ewenice are experienced mothers, but it will be the first time for Poppy, 30f4, and Francine.

Since I really don't have the funds to buy an ultrasound machine, or the desire (and funds) to have the vet come here once a month to ultrasound the ewes, last year I thought I would buy a marking harness for Perry. It's a contraption that fits on him, similar to a dog harness, and has a piece of "crayon" attached. This is so when the ewes allow the ram to mount during breeding, the crayon will leave a mark on their back side. Then I can tell when the ewes were bred and calculate their due dates.

I optimistically bought two different colors of crayon, the first was yellow, the second was green. For the first +/- 17 days the ram would wear the lighter color, yellow. Then he would wear the second, darker color, green. The idea behind that is so if a ewe suddenly had the second color on her I would know that she didn't settle the first time around and we'd have to go through this again in another 17 days. After that if there were no more markings on the ewe, I would know that she got pregnant.

The first day I excitedly put the yellow crayon into the crayon holder attached to the harness. Then I got everything untangled and put the harness on Perry. The straps were really long so I cut the excess off. That was a mistake. We tried the harness thing for about three days, but it kept slipping over the top of his shoulders and he would get tangled up in it. I couldn't even return it now for a "satisfaction guaranteed" refund because I had cut the straps. Finally I threw the blasted thing into the crotch of one of the mimosa trees. It's been there ever since.

Marking harness in the tree.

This year I got some stuff called "raddle marker". It's a powder that comes in different colors that you mix with mineral oil or vegetable oil and smear on the chest.

Yesterday I wormed all the ewes, trimmed their feet, and let them out. I did the same thing to Perry, only before letting him out with the girls I mixed up some green raddle marker and liberally applied it to his chest and part of his belly (just to make sure).

Perry checking the status...

This morning I saw faint evidence that Perry was fooling around with Jamie. I don't think it was good enough to say she's possibly pregnant already though. I have a feeling he won't give up!

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