Rangeland Intern Samantha McIntosh has been busy at work with all sorts of different animals on the ranch, but the last few weeks have been focused around the Ewes and Lambs. She got to have a mini “vacation” and travel to Sheridan County for the Environmental Stewardship Tour last week. Here is her update:
What a week here at Ladder Ranch! With the end of June approaching us, there are a lot of things going on around here!
On Monday, we did the second to last docking for the lambs! After they finished docking on Tuesday, the sheep herders (beginning with the first docking group) began the long trail to where the sheep will spend their summer on the forest permits! Before they begin to officially trail the groups onto the forest, all herds must be run through what they call the “government corrals” which are located on one of their BLM forest permits. At the government corrals we run the sheep through a shoot to count all ewes and lambs and we also separated off about 30-45 ewes to act as “count” ewes. The count ewes are separated off randomly out of the herd as they run through the shoot. It is important not to take the first 30 ewes or the middle/last 30 due to their “clique-like” social patterns. When you take a random ewe every 20-50 ewes you’re going to have a better count on your herd! The count ewes are paint branded with numbers to correspond to the number of ewes in the herd! Each herd has anywhere from 400-900 ewes!
This week was also the stewardship tour in Sheridan at the Kane family ranch! So 3 of the 7 days were spent either traveling or being on the tour!
Back at the ranch, my mentor Ea’mon and the local vet went out to their desert ranch (Powder) and did BSE testing on their yearling bulls! BSE stands for Breeding Soundness Exam, where they score a bull’s reproductive health based on several criteria items such as scrotal circumference and sperm motility.
After we returned from Sheridan, we got right back to work! It was right in time to pull the CIDRS we put in last week and to give all the cows shots of Lutalyse so we can breed them this upcoming week! When we went to gather the group of 300 mother cows, we had some issues with getting them into the corrals. We ended up experiencing a pretty big blow-back with the herd which resulted in having to re-gather the cows a couple of times! Our final attempt was primarily successful due to moving slow and making sure we made very precise moves! This is definitely something I have never experienced while gathering cows on horseback so it was certainly a unique opportunity and learning experience! By the time we started to pull the CIDRS and get the cows shots and new ear tags it was right around 6pm! We didn’t end up finishing until 10:30 that night! Needless to say there was no moon and we had to both finish everything in the dark and ride our only mode of transportation (the horses) back to the main ranch! Let’s just say that my horse is more afraid of the dark than I am!
We ended the week out by pulling the CIDRS in the heifers at 6am on Sunday morning! Everything went really smooth and we ended up finishing the 79 heifers in only 40 minutes or so! Thank goodness because I was FREEZING!
We are still really busy here at Ladder but I am thankful to be learning all the things that I am!
Bum Lambs nursing on a guard dog