Ridgetop - our place and how we muddle along

Baymule

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Hey! That looks GREAT!! HOO-RAH!!! :woot:woot I know you are delighted to have this equipment. It sure makes life easier. on you and the sheep too! I have some of that orange "safety twine" too! I am so happy for you that you have this equipment, it's awesome!
 

Ridgetop

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RAIN!!! Last night. not much but most of the night and supposed to rain all day intermittently. Hooray! FORAGE!

Of course, now we cannot try out the new sorting pen. :( LOL

Took pics of the ewes. Most look pregnant, but not close so probably not bred to my new ram, Axtel, but probably to the cleanup ram, Lewis. Oh well, that is life and he produces nice lambs too. Also very fast growers.
IMG_5359.jpgIMG_5355 (3).jpgIMG_5354 (2).jpg

Here is one just for Bay!IMG_5356.jpgSweet Josie the Mule!

Here are some more of the current lambs. The first picture is the ewe lamb I am keeping. She is Hijo, Glenland Farms, Polman Howell. Massively thick and extremely long although this is a terrible picture.
IMG_5305.jpg

The next pictures are the young ram lamb and his now wethered brother. They are double bred Hijo, Glenland Farms. Again terrifically long and massively thick. The ram is sold to a buyer in Idaho.
IMG_5306.jpgIMG_5303.jpg The ram is the white hair lamb, his smaller brother (going to be good eating with his super long loin) is the darker wooly lamb. These are the older lambs. The others are still youngsters.

Got an idea how to use the same idea of existing runnway in the barn to make a scale alley.

Off to bridge!
 

Ridgetop

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So here is my idea about the barn alley. We have the same problem in the barn. DH now has decided it is way too small, being only 24' wide x 36' long. Massive when housing 100 rabbit holes in breeding operation, but when converted to larger animal, definitely limiting.

Since the barn is built on a level 4' down from the driveway, the edges of the retaining wall in the barn are sloped and we can't put our portable pens up to the front wall of the barn. We do attach the lambing pens to the side wall so this makes a 2' x 20' space between the back pen wall and the barn wall which is difficult to walk on since it s a rocky slope and dead ends into the side wall of the barn. Totally unusable space. Naturally when herding the sheep from one pen to another they immediately run behind the pens, getting themselves trapped. Lambs are especially prone to this, probably having ewes whisper in their silly ears "Let's have some fun with those humans!"

Since we have attachments on the side wall where we can pin the panels for the pens, my idea is to move them out 18" to form another alleyway. Here are pix of current set up. Please comment on whether you guys think this will work. We will have to build a plywood platform to level the scale, no problem there.

IMG_5367.jpg Back wall of barn from on top of driveway. Lower left front is creep, upper left pen is larger ewe pen. Sydell panels, easily moved.

IMG_5368.jpg Again from top of driveway, looking into middle of barn, pen is creep 5' x 10'. Plywood wall has attachments to which to pin Sydell panels. By moving the creep over from the wall 18" using 2 extra panels, we make a run way behind the existing panels, around a corner and into an alley. At the top of the creep, which would be the middle of the barn, I can put the scale. Or when the lambs are off to slaughter the squeeze table.

IMG_5369.jpg This is the end where we would send the sheep through into the alley. Currently we have straw there for the lambing pens, since the area is not usable for anything, but that will move.
IMG_5370.jpg This shows the view towards the back of the barn from where the scale or alley would open back into the barn. At the end the wooden gate opens into the small steep hillside pen for ewes and lambs. The metal gate enters into the large creep. This pen is where the ewes and lambs go after they are several weeks old. Right now, I have 2 rams in the left pen and the right creep is holding the older lambs. I will be removing Moy to the front field with Lewis. Axtell will stay in this pen with the ewes that have already lambed and are ready to rebreed. Hopefully this weekend.

I want to relocate the scale since we have not ben able to use it and are still eighing 50 lb. lambs in the hanging scale. Fine for DS1 who can still manage on his own (barely with the larger lambs) but I want to be able to weigh the larger lambs more easily, and also be able to weigh ewes and rams when drenching, and weigh yearlings to determine readiness for breeding, etc.

Comments everyone?
 

Baymule

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I will comment that I LIKE your barn! I really like the block pony wall. Your barn sure beats mine by a country mile. I like the "plans" you outlined, don't cha love panels that are easily moved and reconfigured? If what you do doesn't quite work out, just move them. I like your plans, it sounds good to me. I have some serious scale envy going on here. One of my keeper ewe lambs is growing and is quite hefty, would love to be able to chart weight and growth on our lambs!
 

Ridgetop

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😁Have not been on for a couple days. Had to let my blood pressure drop back to normal before I could continue with this journal. By rights DH, DS1, DS2, and myself should have been laying cold and dead from a massive family group stroke after Tuesday’s events. :barnie :he

DD1 decided to Christmas shop with DD2. They had come up with this idea for sisterly bonding and decided that the children would come to our house without consulting any of us. :rant DH and I were at the DMV getting our driver's licenses converted to "real driver's licenses". 9:45 am appointment, arrived at 9:30 am. DD2 brought Doofus Dominic and his 2 year old to our house, DD1 brought her 3 children, aged 12, 9, 6 to our house. While DH and I were trapped in bureaucratic limbo, DS1 and DS2 got Doofus to help them move the retaining wall blocks around and continue raising the flower bed at the end of the new grass yard. They loaded the blocks off the field onto the truck bed, backed it up to the fence and had Doofus hand the blocks over to them as they stacked and built the wall. These are the blocks that simply stack in place to hold dirt, no mortar needed. It was over and done quickly.

When DH and I arrived home around 2:00 pm (yes it did take that long) Doofus was gone with his little girl. Apparently before he could be roped into any other chores, Doofus remembered that he urgently needed to find a birthday gift for DD2. He never returned. The birthday gift? A cat. DD2 and Doofus are living with his father and step-mom in a small 2 BR 1 BA house belonging to the step-mom in Big Bear. I don’t know if the parents want a cat or not. Maybe we will eventually acquire a barn cat??? The thought processes of Doofusses are mysterious. However, we have now found out how to rid ourselves of Doofus - have him help us with some sort of manual labor. LOL ;)

The skies were getting dark, temperatures were plummeting, and a massive storm was predicted. Due to the DMV fiasco we were late starting this project. The only good part was that DH and I had missed seeing Doofus. The only bad part was DH and I had missed seeing Doofus WORKING.

Now we had to finally get to our sheep chores: Weighing lambs, installing a creep gate in another pen, attaching the pull rope to the guillotine gates so they could be operated from the outside of the run way, catching and vaccinating the two rams in one pen, moving Moy to another pen, putting a breeding harness on Axtell and turning him in with the ewes that have lambed. Then in the large pen with the ewes that had not given birth yet, catching Lewis, vaccinating him, removing his breeding harness and removing him to the other pen, The Field of Celibacy, with Moy. Those two, Lewis and Moy, will remain celibate for the next few months. Axtell will get the goodies for a while. We started in the barn because the field job would be easy – we had an alleyway to the sorting gate remember? That job would only take about 15 minutes. 😁

The 4 of us, DH, DS1, DS2, and myself, were working in the barn in an attempt to beat the rain. A big storm was due in and we needed to finish moving the sheep around. The grandsons - 12 and 9 - were instructed to assist with the sheep chores. They kept disappearing, while the 6 year old copied them as they climbed on high retaining walls, sword fought with long sticks, all normal things EXCEPT THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ASSISTING US! They kept disappearing, often with our tools. While DH and DS1 installed the new creep gate in the large ewe/lamb pen, DS2 and I weighed lambs. The grandsons were told to help us. The 6 year old granddaughter was more help but too small to do much. Finally, DS2 managed to teach the 12 year old how to catch and hold on to a lamb. Then it actually went ok. The 9 year old was useless, he doesn't like animals and after disgustedly watching him in the pen trying to figure out how to catch a sheep without using his hands or actually touching it, :hideDS2 got in with him and showed him how to do it. Then he made him catch and release several times. Then we called in the 12 year old (who is just as annoying but for other reasons) and finished the job.

Anyway, once everyone was weighed, the dance of the musical pens began. I will omit a description of this maneuver, assisted by the children. :rant Suffice it to say we moved the 2 ewes and their 3 lambs into the small lambing pen from the large creep. Then we drove the 2 rams that had been in the small pen, separated from the ewes, into the large creep. We caught them, vaccinated them and haltered them. One went to the front ram pen, while the other was placed in a marking harness and returned to the small pen. This small pen is actually a nice sized steep pen on the back of the barn where the ewes and lambs are kept (after they are moved out of the lambing pens) until the lambs are about 80-100 lbs. Then the lambs go to slaughter. Now we had the ram in his harness in the pen, we moved the ewes back across the barn with their lambs in with him and set up the creep. We had to make the creep gate spacing wider since the older lambs couldn't get though it any more. Reaching the exhaustion point (mainly due to the children) we still needed to carry on.

So, 2 chores down, 2 to go. We had to catch the ram in the night fold pen, vaccinate him, remove his marking harness since he was finished breeding, halter him and lead him to the Field of Celibacy. Easy-peasy we assured DS2 and DH. Lewis was a gentle, easygoing ram, and with our new super duper alleyway, we should be done and inside in about 15 minutes.

OK. So, the alleyway was a great idea and WOULD have worked well except . . . .

Out on the field, we opened the large field/driveway gate to make one wing leading into the funnel opening. We then stationed future DIL on the rope of the guillotine gate, DH at the edge of the gate holding up another panel, DS1, DS2, and myself stretched across the 15' open side. DS1 sent the 12 year old grandson into the pen with strict instructions to walk slowly around the sheep and gently herd them out of the pen. 🙄 Naturally, the sheep walked calmly out of the pen and obeying our gestures walked into the alley way. These are sheep. They did nothing of the sort. :gig

First, the ewes had been penned in the night fold for several weeks hoping they were going to lamb in October or early November. As soon as the sheep gate opened, the grandsons ignored their instructions and started to "herd" the sheep out of the night fold. Now, granted the grandsons are not very knowledgeable about herding sheep, BUT running at the sheep waving their arms was not the slow gentle approach we had told them to use. :somad

The ram took off. He must have been watching National Geographic specials because he proceeded to bound into the air like an impala on the Serengeti. Leaping like Nureyev in the Nutcracker Lewis sped past us followed by his 6 ewes. They all raced into the gully. Angrily, we sent the boys into the steep gully to bring the sheep back up ignoring whines and mutters from them. As they started to protest, 4 angry adults turned as one and advanced towards them. The boys ran into the gully after the sheep. The 6 year old gladly ran after them "to help" but we called her back. As they tried repeatedly to round up the sheep, the clouds kept darkening and the temperature plummeted. The 6 year old turned whiney. Her grandmother tuned snarly. The atmosphere was dark and not just from the storm.

As the children ignored our strict orders being given to "go slow" and "don't approach too close", the hilltop resounded to screams, shouts, and more screams. :smack The sheep were brought up twice, both times breaking back into the gully when the grandsons, in a hurry to have this end, ran at them and scattered them. I told DS1 we needed a good dog instead of the grandsons. Finally, DH put Josie the Mule into the night fold and the ram ran in after her bringing the sheep with him. As we quickly closed the gate, we decided to do this another way. Propping both sides of the sorting gate open, we tried to herd the now hysterical sheep through the sorting gate into the small holding pen on the other side. Finally, one ewe ran in. The others followed her. As the sheep circled the unfamiliar confines of the small pen, we finally were able to push the ram back through one gate into the chute. As we did this, the frightened sheep realized that one panel of the fence was rather high off the ground. We had noticed this when building the alleyway but hoped the sheep would not. One by one they squeezed under the panel and took off again. We ignored them to deal with the ram. Once locked into the chute, vaccinating him was a breeze as was removing his marking harness, haltering him, opening the sorting gate back into the large pen and leading him down to the front Field of Celibacy to join Moy. The children were once again sent to round up the ewes from the gully. This time, exhausted, they ran into the night fold and we closed the gate.

I gathered up the equipment from the field and barn and put it away. DH and DS1 fed. DS2 moved the large metal field feeder into the Field of Celibacy. Finally, we went inside. DGD1 received a banana to hold her over till dinner and to prevent her snarly grandmother from actions unbecoming. DH collapsed in his chair. DS1 and DS2 scrambled to reach the bathroom first for a shower. I threw some fish sticks on a tray in the oven and threw a salad on the table. Yum. :confused: While the fish sticks baked I had a stiff drink. Sue me.

The atmosphere at supper was sullen. Those were the adults. There were no complaints about supper. The children’s father showed up to take the eldest grandson to a scout meeting expecting to leave the younger 2 with us. Our faces were expressive. He took all 3 children with him.

Family consensus the following morning was that DD1's children exhibited a complete lack of listening and following instructions skills. It was decided by DH, DS1, and DS2 that they were normal children that had not had the benefit of growing up with the livestock. Their grandmother loudly disclaimed any responsibility since the children she raised were excellent instruction followers. DS1 and DS2 claimed it was because I was no stranger to the wooden spoon. The family decided I was just tired and stressed. Once I did all the Thanksgiving prep I would be fine. :\ Everyone decided their training might be resumed when we have recovered our voices. Though beaten, like the phoenix, we rise from the ashes and try again. Our family refuses to accept defeat. I did not say we were smart, just that we do not accept defeat.

The sorting chute worked properly although the alley approach needs improvement. DS1 and DS2 are working on alterations to the design by incorporating a gate into the chute from the large pen itself. With the addition of a couple extra 5' panels, we will get it working. The sorting chute was terrific. Well, once we got the ram inside it.

2 days to Thanksgiving. I made it and am here so I am thankful.
.
 

Ridgetop

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The only thing that keeps me same is being able to laugh at myself and our adventures.

I really appreciate you guys being here to remind me that life is full of laughs, and we all experience forms of the same aggravation!

My email is not working very well, and when I write long posts like the one above my BYH freezes too. I had to write the post in Word and paste it. I don't like the new emogee format as well. They seem to go places I don't mean them to go ad it is hard to find them again!
 
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