Monday 25 May 2009

Blue Tongue Vaccination & ear tagging

Sunday has for some time been ear marked as the day we vaccinated all the sheep and lambs (as the youngest is now 4 weeks old), against Blue Tongue, as well as ear tag the lambs, in a hope that we can match lambs to ewes.
The original plan had been to separate all the lambs from the ewes, vaccinate, weigh and ear tag them. Let them go and see which ewe they went to. But as always the sheep had other ideas. In the end Tim caught the lambs, I jabbed and gave them all nice blue ear rings, in the form of ear tags and then put them into the lamb weigh to record their weights. This is where Mrs R.V became know as the Mad Scribing Woman, as she had the clip board, recording all ear tag numbers, weights and hopefully which lamb belonged to which ewe. It sort of worked. Once we had done all 36 lambs, we had a break as Phillippa arrived to help out.
Whilst injecting and weighing the ewes we noticed that Brazil was starting to "rue" her fleece, so we kept her back and Phillippa and I very carefully peeled her fleece back, only occasionally having to snip away at the fleece in one or two areas. As you can see below she looks a different sheep and because the fleece is "rued" it leave a very short covering of fleece on the sheep, so she won't be as cold as if she'd been sheared in the conventional way. A couple of the other Shetlands are starting to "rue", so I shall watch them carefully to see if I'm able to peel off their fleeces

After lunch we took the spare Blue Tongue Vaccine over to Phillippa's to inject her 7 sheep. Whilst her sheep were penned up she took the opportunity to get the shearer to come and give her small flock a quick hair cut. I wrapped the fleeces and I have to say her Cheviot X fleece is beautiful. This was followed by an excellent tea sat out in the garden. It finished off a hectic day very nicely.
With regards to the ewe's weights, I did a comparison of what the ewes weighed just before we put the tup in, back in November, to what they weigh now, after lambing and I'm pleased to say that all have put on weight, on average 4kgs. Only Missy is down on her November weight, but we suspected that when she went down with twin lamb disease. Even old Lucy has stayed the same weight. It just goes to prove how much that extra feed has helped the ewes through the winter, and now that we have a good supply of grass, they should continue to gain some weight. This is when good record keeping comes into it's own

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