Thursday, August 20, 2009

Week in review

I have sad new to report. We have lost one of our ewes (for those non-farm animal people- female sheep), the one in the picture above. We bought these ewes from a friend of ours who did raise them conventionally- grain, vaccinations and chemical fixes. I have no objection to those who choose that way of raising their animals it is just not the way we want to. The first year we supplemented some grain and then the next year we never offered it. We have never done any vaccinations and last year was the only year we de-wormed. I am not sure why I thought it would be a good idea, maybe because we had 11 lambs and I really do not know what I am doing. I remembered our friend telling us that she would de-worm a day or so after the lambs were born that way when they were nursing they would get some of the benefit of the wormer. Well anyway I dewormed last year right after they lambed. Then weeks later I noticed one ewe had bottle jaw, I freaked out. In all the books that I had read they said bottle jaw is one of the last signs of parasites- last meaning before they die. I went crazy wormed everyone again and then when I noticed no change or the bottle jaw was back I wormed again. I think all in all I wormed 4 times within a couple months, I was going crazy. All the time doing more and more research, then talking with Chucks aunt and uncle. And what I learned was more than likely we had liver fluke. And bottle jaw was the first sign- big sigh. But what did I need to do. I called anyone and everyone I could think of and the jist of it; I stopped worming them, and moved them to different pasture. I spoke to a women at the 'U' that specialzes in sheep and she said that some are more prone than others- some of our ewes seemed to have no problems while a couple seemed really bad. I also learned that Chuck's aunt and uncle had problems with liver fluke in their cows, which I later found out is very rare and shows that there is truly a problem in the area. This year we did not de-worm instead shortly after lambing we moved them to a new pasture, we know our lambing pasture is the problem pasture. However a few weeks after the move I noticed one ewe was swelling with bottle jaw. I do have to say we used a nautropathic supplement in the sheeps water that will help build immunity for parasite protection- although it was just when lambing had started and I had hoped to do it before lambing. Then I gave a garlic drench (mixture of garlic and molases and water put in a syringe and injected in the mouth). I kept doing research and decided to offer free choice diatomaceous earth (ground up shells). I noticed no change and decided to chemacially deworm. Within a few days she passed. It is sad and I wish things could be different. I still do not want to relay on chemicals and I do believe that there is a better way. I think that I need to do a better job of prevention- I was banking on the move to better pasture would prevent this. Other ewes look really great and show no signs, the one that passed this year was one that had problems last year.This is number 12 with bottle jaw

To change the subject- we have been getting rain. This is a picture of the rain gauge- I took it this morning, while it was still raining. The well pit is flooded and the sump pump is broken, ahhh isn't it fun:)
I have canned 40 pounds of tomatoes, raspberry jam, and 50 pounds of peaches. I have froze corn, beans, and sour cherries. I have to say the cool weather is nice for all of this work. I can not imagine 90 degrees and canning- they do not go together at all!
We bred Althea for the first time- hopefully it takes. The way you tell if a cow is in heat is usually if another cow mounts her and she stands there for it. With Althea she moo's, it is kind of like listening to a female cat in heat- horrible.
Chuck finished upgrading another section of the pasture for my sheep! It is making moving them much easier.The new milk cow (Henriette) is milking almost 3 gallons a day for those with slow math skills that is 21 gallons a week!! I have continued to make butter with a couple pounds in the freezer now. Her ear tag is now gone, the last of what remaind of her being part of a farm operation.


Alison said...

Jen, sorry to hear about your Ewe's passing. I so admire all that you are doing on your farm. Keep up the good work!

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