SageHill Ranch Journal

SageHill

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Happy Thanksgiving All.
May you all have a wonderful and peaceful day.
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SageHill

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Managed to get a bunch of things done, the normal grazing. Today I thought I'd try how I originally started out - taking the sheep to something that looked lush and green (and the same as what they've eaten in other areas) aaaannnnnddddd - it was as it was when I started - they'd get in, and only one or two would put their heads down to eat. The others just stood there. For ten minutes they'd just stand there and not even think of trying even one mouthful. If I leave the choice of area to the dog or to the sheep they eat. There is definitely more to this than meets the eye. Something that I've learned from experience but thought I'd revisit it and see if it still held. Definitely has to be either the stage that the plants are at (which they look the same to me) or, and I think this is more likely the nutrients and/or taste are not the same. Different area, different soil would be my guess especially with how varied the terrain is here.
I'm back to doing some weed whacking. Trying to get the tall crunch brown stuff down. The sheep don't like trail blazing through it, and it's too good of a camouflage for coyotes. Only had 4 batteries charged at the barn so that's what I used. Also got some lettuce seeds planted.
DH found someone giving away pumpkins so he went and picked them up. Most were small, but one was humongous like 100 pounds or more. We broke it in half -- half for the ram who has two buddies Silver and Black. And half for the ewes and lambs.

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Interesting thing to note -
They would munch on the pumpkin, then go out to the green pasture munch some, and return back to the pumpkin. I've seen similar behavior out grazing - they'll eat some of one thing, switch over to something else, and return to what they started on. With that in mind, I wend and checked on the ram and his girls and ..... they were working on the dregs of the alfalfa in the feed bunk. Hmmm - so I grabbed a good sized chunk of alfalfa and tossed it into their pumpkin half and.......... they came out of barn and back to eating the pumpkin. Very interesting.
Oh and I grabbed a bunch of seeds from Monster Pumpkin - we'll see if anything comes of them next year.
 

Baymule

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Nope. It just means don’t throw out any starting to rot pumpkins. I had a bunch of giant pink banana squash freeze on the porch in 2021. When it warmed up, they turned to mush and started decomposing fast. I had to use an aluminum scoop shovel to carry them to the sheep. The sheep gobbled them right up and looked for more.
 

SageHill

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The pumpkins are now long gone. I now have plans to try growing those ginormous pumpkins. 🙃 If I'm lucky I'll get pumpkins, if not I'll have to wait until Oct/Nov when people are giving them away. It was a riot watching the sheep chow down on it. For the time being they are enjoying some spaghetti squash from one of my herding students who had the squash "get away" and take over their garden :lol:.
Last week I judged a scentwork (think detection for sport) trial - two long days. I knew I shouldn't have taken the assignment with Christmas around the corner and all, but paying for some hay kind of was flashing in neon. Now I'm behind the Christmas eight ball (damn -- that's more normal for me than not).
The weather here has been mostly cool (well cool for me 50-60s 40s will be cold and it's on the way) so perfect for grazing. And yup we've been out there almost every morning and I'm starting to do a little in the afternoon as well.
What the sheep are wanting to eat is gradually switching. A few months ago they stayed away from the wild radish. Today those little pretty purple posies were scrumptious. Got me - I'm just the observer :D. They've munched them in previous years.
I've been meaning to weigh the lambs all week, but just didn't get things set up until this morning. Really wanted to get a weight on the ram lamb, Camper, who should be going to freezer camp Monday. He weighed in a 108#. I'm waiting on a final confirmation from the harvest/butcher (appt was sept up in Sept)-- fingers crossed Monday happens.
The ewe lambs gained as well, they are in the 80-90# range, the rest of the sheep stayed the same except one ewe who gained (damn paperwork is in the barn). I've been thinking she may have a lamb, and with the weight gain that may be happening. :fl
My lettuce is coming up in the kitchen garden - yay, along with snap peas and the ever volunteering nasturtium. I've got tomatoes that are looking good, and need to start turning red. Yeah - it's weird I've got all that going and it's normal for here. I'm waiting impatiently on those seed catalogs to get here. I'll probably have to do the browsing online - no fun because I can't circle, color code and write notes on the pages (well I could but it would destroy my screen :barnie ).
I need to get some low panels to work the sheep through. 🎄 The hog panel is the right height, but my other panels are too high for me to reach over. Guess I'll have look around and/or make some. Those sheep handling systems are so awesome looking, but way more than I need. A bunch of panels, a sort gate or two and I think I'd be happy - HA - the ever never ending wish list. We've all got them.
I decided that I really need to teach Zo his flanks - directions around the sheep. I can easily "handle" him into the flanks using my position and balance, but that's not enough. I should be able to give him a flank and he should take it without me doing anything to cue him. And at any distance from me and the sheep. The fault is all my own, not his. So he and I are working on that in the corral. 👍 He's doing well and happy to work. Of course it also gives him more practice on his stops, which he is very good at. Though I haven't put that to the test when sheep decided to be a little crazy (i.e. lambs going -- run! It's a wolf! :lol:).
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Hoping to get the Christmas baking started this weekend, some shopping and decorating the tree. And drink EGGNOG, yes, yummy EggNog!
 

Ridgetop

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the rest of the sheep stayed the same except one ewe who gained (damn paperwork is in the barn). I've been thinking she may have a lamb, and with the weight gain that may be happening.
I had that happen some years ago. We weighed everyone. Several ewes with 5 months old lambs had gained weight. We were pleased thinking that after weaning they had put the weight back on. 2-3 months later they lambed again! This is when we had just a few ewes, were not separating the lambs to wean them, and were running the ram with the flock. LOL
Those sheep handling systems are so awesome looking, but way more than I need. A bunch of panels, a sort gate or two and I think I'd be happy
"A bunch of panels, a sort gate or two . . . . " :gig Tell yourself that as you add equipment to your wish list!

Make sure to have several gates within the chute to keep the sheep pushed up to the sort gate. If the chute is more than 3-4' long, they will back up or try to turn around. Having gates within the chute means you can keep them moving along without having them back 9ut of the chute back nto the holding pen. Ask me how I know this! :rant:gigA 3-way sort gate with a head catch on the end is the best. You can sort into a pen on either side and use the head catch (like a stanchion head piece) to hold a sheep that you notice needs se sort of quick attention or a replacement ear tag. The head catch can also be used as a gate to sort into a 3rd pen.

I love helping my dear friends spend their money!
 
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