Friday, July 23, 2010
Current events: More chickens and drenching sheep
This week we added 3 Americauna hens and 3 French hens, called Marans.The Marans lay a dark chocolate-brown egg and the Americaunas lay green eggs. The lady also threw in a free Bantam rooster and a dozen eggs! They are laying for us slowly and I think this heat has a lot to do with their lack of production. We have had a couple of brown eggs and three green ones, as well as a few banties in the last couple of days. Not too bad, but hopefully they will do better when the temps drop a bit.
We also had to drench the sheep. Wow! That was an experience! Last week we had tried to check their eyes and were only able to look at two. Both were very pale, so we figured they all needed to be treated. I wrote the previous owner and asked her advice on what to use and how much.
Then, off to the farm store to find the worm meds and buy big syringes to dose them up. We figured out our system (since the last time didn't go so well) of getting them into the chute where we could work with them. We did a couple of trial runs (sans sheep), and thought we had it all worked out.
The next morning we went out at 6 AM, got all ready, keeping the sheep waiting to be let out into the pasture to graze for the day while we did. Then we started trying to get them into the chute, one at a time. Greg held them by the horns while I got the meds into their mouths. They actually, once caught and held, took the meds very well. It seemed like, once they were focused on what was being put into their mouths, they forgot about fighting being held by the horns! And they swallowed the stuff right down...no spitting it out. Away they would go, when let out of the chute, licking and smacking their lips! Unfortunately, we were only able to drench three of the five as two of them slipped through our fingers and got out the exit door before we could get it closed.
We decided to wait until their afternoon rest to try to get the other two. In the afternoon we went back out to try again with Cocoa and Zuma. Zuma was actually quite easy. But Cocoa slipped out the space between the boards at the bottom of the chute! Fortunately she was still inside the pen, so we blocked that gap, got her back in and got 'er done!
We figured out where our weak spots were and a few things not to do the next time!
It really did make me feel like now I am a REAL shepherdess! The next time is gonna be so much easier! At least next time we will have half an idea what we are doing! I think the sheep will be happier about it, too!