Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Almost Shearing Time

Mid March brings many things. St. Patrick's Day and then my birthday and not too farm after that the first day of Spring! Along with that is shearing time here. I put my ram in with my ewes on Halloween, trick-or-treat, and should start lambing in April. I had one little brown Shetland Ewe who was getting quite large. She was to the point of waddling. I was nervous and excited to see how many she would have, but I will never know. I came home last night after dinner out for my birthday and she was dead. I don't know why, but I suspect it's because of something called "cast". Here's what Sheep 101 says about it: Cast sheep. A sheep that has rolled over onto its back is called a "cast" sheep. It may not be able to get up without assistance. This happens most commonly with short, stocky sheep with full fleeces on flat terrain. Heavily pregnant ewes are most prone. Cast sheep can become distressed and die within a short period of time if they are not rolled back into a normal position. When back on their feet, they may need supported for a few minutes to ensure they are steady. Heavily laden with lambs! That she was. So sad. I decided to shear her this morning with a pair of scissors and try to salvage her wool. I can tell you that shearing a dead ewe with lambs in her belly is not a pleasant experience. I don't write this for pity or sympathy, I write this to let you know what we go through sometimes with these living, breathing things. Soon the lambs will be popping and bring joy and new life once again to the farm. The circle of life.