It has been a long day, we had another snow day so Annmarie went out to check on the sheep this morning and discovered a couple of things. Our isolated ewe and her baby were cold, the ewe has no hair, for what reason we are not sure but the ewe is not weak or sick, just missing about 60% of its hair. She also noticed that a bunch of the sheep had milky eyes. The hay is full of cheat grass, Our fields got flooded last spring and we did not get our mower for the hay until too late. By the time we got it I knew I needed to practice bailing hay as a learning event. Once I had it all bailed I did not want to throw it out. The sheep have been eating it but they are shoving their heads in the feeders and getting stickers in their eyelids. So we ran everyone through the chute and I dug stickers out of eyes. Some have cataracts from the irritation, we have two that are blind. They get in and out of the barn with the rest of the herd. So next weekend we are going to run them through the chute again and this time I will check them again and use a couple of gallons of warm water to wash all their faces really well. We have also altered our feeding routine. No more using the feeders. We are going to toss the bales out on the ground so the sheep will be reaching down and stand less chance of getting a sticker. This will waste more feed but its safer for the sheep.
Annmarie has vowed to help me watch the grass in the spring so I know when to cut it to prevent this again. We have replanted 14 acres of fields and are hoping to not get any cheat grass. I have fields with grass that is already a couple of inches tall. Annmarie pays better attention to this stuff than I do. I can check on them, feed them, water them, grain them no problem, but I tend not to notice stuff. We have had the sheep for over ten years and I am still learning and realizing that her passion will always supersede mine. It took us about three hours to get everything done in the barn this morning. The feeders will only be used for the nightly protein supplement.
I fed the cows another giant bale. The alpaca mobbed the machine shed hay room when I opened it to get hay for the cows. Now that there is snow on the ground its harder for them to find something to eat. I left the gate open tonight for them, tomorrow I will start tossing them hay from the barn.
We moved the ewe and baby down to the other end of the barn hoping to get her away from the wind. Annmarie went in to the house and stole one of my T-shirts’. It is now a sheep covering, the neck hole is for the head, the two front legs go through the arm holes and she cut a small hole at the bottom of the shirt and pushed it over the sheep’s tail to prevent it from creeping up the neck. We moved panels around, deciding we need about four more panels, a creep feeder for the lambs and about 8 more wall eyelets. I may just use eyebolts instead of buying the special ones from Premier fencing. We have had approximately 9 lambs so far and while moving panels around today we discovered a dead baby lamb. We never saw it. I usually find one or two every season buried in the bedding. I also found another dead baby chicken. It will be time to make another trip out to the boneyard after a hard freeze or snow melts off some. This slick top mud is not conducive to getting up the back hillside.
Zeke keeps getting out of the yard. We thought that he was going over by the tensioner but it looks like he may be crawling between the wires again. I really need to add a wire that goes through all the 4×4 boards so he cannot crawl past. It is so infuriating to find him outside the fence. He hates the wind and has been panicking in his kennel so he has gotten to sleep outside of it several times in the last two weeks. Last night after about 10 minutes he tries to dig to China through his kennel in an attempt to get let out. I told him he was full of shit and to settle down cause he was not getting out of that kennel as there was no wind! He settled down and slept on the breeze porch in his kennel all night long.
I did have to order a new tile border for the upstairs bathroom. We waited over a year to order the tile and our old choice would be delayed by 3 months. So we ordered one similar and should have it in a couple of weeks. My new eye glasses are coming in another week hopefully. I waited too long in between sets and I keep having to take my current ones off and shove the screen up under my nose to see.