Monday, November 4, 2013

switch-a-ram

My friend Amy messaged me proudly last week. "On my way to work this morning I passed a field full of sheep. All of them had orange butts, and now I know exactly what that means!"

Warms my heart to think that I have done my small part in educating the world on sheep breeding techniques.

Our own rams have been hard at work in the back fields. All of the ewes have been marked.

It was a very chilly (to me) 35 degrees F when I went back to photograph them,
yet they were all laying in the shade to chew their morning cuds.
Wool must be as warm as everyone says it is.

To be really effective and scientific in the whole endeavor, you need to switch the colors in the marking harnesses after 17 days—the length of a ewe's cycle—to see if the ewes are getting rebred. A second breeding may indicate a problem, because a ewe won't allow rebreeding if things went right the first time. A second marking means it didn't take the first time for whatever reason, or the ram isn't fertile enough, or something else didn't go according to plan.

The one with the unmarked rear end is the ram!


Problem is, I didn't remember to order new crayons. We were lucky that my husband managed to find two unused crayons to begin with, because I could have sworn we had only one in the barn. What with races and applications and high school and Halloween and blah blah blah, the need to order replacement ones really slipped my mind, especially because I usually pick them up at Rhineeck. Cue sad violin music here...

Then the obvious (and cost-effective) solution finally dawned on me. One crayon was red, the other was green. All we had to was switch harnesses between the rams. I'll never order four crayons again! But I will spend a few weeks wondering why the obvious solution escaped me for so long.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for continuing our sheep lessons!

    ReplyDelete