Friday, May 8, 2020

Get Yourself a Girl That Can Castrate a Goat

I think that title says it all. My girlfriend and I spent today working as a team to pen the small flock of sheep here and tend to the regular spring management of lambs brought in from another farm. The lambs were brought without much medical information from the farm I acquired them from, so I decided to do it all this morning. Every lamb got wormed, their tails docked (banded), and a CDT shot. My girl would gather and hold the stock and I would go about with injections and the elastrator. I noticed all three sheep had a bit of loose stool and I gather that comes from the influx of greener grass (and any parasites that may come with them) as well as the grain I've slowly been adding to their hay and pasture diet. To be safe some electrolyte solution was added to their water and the whole work of penning, injections, docking, inspecting, worming, etc only took about half an hour. However, both of us left the sheep shed with far dirtier boots and pants then we entered with.

Today was also the day Cade the goat got castrated. After talking it over with different dairy farmers and a vet (and watching some instruction videos online like this one) it seemed pretty straight forward to do at home with the same tools I already owned for tail docking.  I was so loathing this chore but the entire procedure took a half minute and Cade didn't even so much as bleat once. She held him as instructed, safely inverted with head and horns out of the site and in one quick motion the work was done.  He got a nice bottle of milk afterwards, a treat since he is almost weaned, and then trotted right back into the pasture right as rained. Compared to the banding Cade was much more concerned when he was included in the lamb pen for tail docking. He let out a string of Nubian wailing that only people familiar with the breed can understand.

So far the trio of sheep and the goat have been getting along swimmingly, having been raised together. They are mowing pasture down fast as it can grow so the netting is moved every few days.  Much more work than leaving sheep in a woven wire fence, for sure, but better all around and with zero escapes!

Having help made everything so much easier. Everything went (fairly) smoothly and when things didn't she was there to laugh with. I've had friends and farmers help me with chores in the past but there's something different and more comforting about it being your person, and sharing in the work of this place and all the sheep poop that may include. What I'm saying is this was a regular day of very normal farm work made better with a second pair of hands I am always reaching to hold during movie nights — and the betterment of the farm is just so much sweeter in the end.