Wednesday, 24 March 2010

We are Expecting!

Of our 153 ewe lambs we have 23 not pregnant, 117 expecting one lamb and 13 expecting twins. I was initially a bit disappointed by this but as the whole flock are first time mothers and we are first time shepherds it is no bad thing for all of us to have a slow start.

We had a man called Gus to scan the sheep, he brought a little trailer with all his gear in it, which fitted onto the end of our handling system and unfolded into a small cabin with space for him, a chair and the scanning machine. The sheep ran alonside in a race and he held the scanning head underneath them one at a time. He had a small screen in the cabin to see what was going on inside each animal. I had the job of spray painting the sheep to reflect their status, a blue spot for twins, a green spot for singles and a red spot for any we were worried about, the empty ones were left spotless!

I think I will have to get more practice in before next year as they are more Focus DIY than Pantone coloured sheep.

We took advantage of putting them all through the handling system to vaccinate them, its a basic all in one vaccine for sheep that will protect the lambs as well. Needless to say they are not cooperative and its a matter of grab them and jab them.

We use a gun to do this as it's much quicker and safer for the user, the Heptavac bottle comes with a loop in the base to clip to a lanyard so you can wear it round your neck. The system really comes into its own when you have huge flocks to vaccinate but even for us it saved loads of time and R only stuck it in himself once!

It automatically refils itself when you release the grip and we change the needle when it gets blunt or bent! As you see the whole kit fits nicely in an old icecream tub which stops it from sliding around in the back of the landrover.

We have to give them all a second dose in a few weeks time. Meanwhile the 4 tups are back here looking bored as they are on holiday till this november.

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