Jedidiah learns about commercial sheep production

I must say, this week seemed like the longest one yet! We began the week by gathering cattle from one pasture and taking them about 5 miles up the road to another pasture. We spent several hours trying to make sure the cows were paired up so that they would hopefully not go back down the road looking for their calves. After getting a few more head out of various pastures, we were done for the day. On Monday and Tuesday, we docked lambs. It was cool to finally see how commercial sheep producers process sheep in large quantities! We use a panel corral and move it around to process one band of sheep per day. One band can be anywhere from 800 to 1000 ewes. After the lambs are sorted off from the ewes, the lambs are processed in small chutes to hold them. First, the lambs are earmarked and castrated if they are bucks. Then they receive vaccine, their tails are docked, and a paint brand is put on their back. It is quite the process and it is a very efficient way of processing a large quantity of sheep. From my calculations, I think I docked about 80 lambs per hour. After all that excitement, we went fencing on Wednesday and Thursday. We spent a lot of hours out on that mountain pasture, but we got a lot of fence fixed too. Much of the fence we were fixing is called “lay-down” fence. It is a fence line of solid posts and the actual fence is stapled to another set of posts that we tied up to the solid ones. The fence is laid on the ground during the winter so that heavy snows and wildlife do not damage it. When the fence is needed again in the spring, it is set up and minor repairs make it much more convenient than permanent fences. On Friday, we docked another band of sheep and moved the corrals. After the third docking, my wrist was getting sore from all the work! On Saturday, we gathered a little bunch of cows and trailed them back to the ranch to work them at he corrals. I got the opportunity to help rope and doctor one of the calves that had foot-rot. Since I haven’t roped much off of a horse, I was really happy that I caught it with my first loop! The cow-boss showed me how to tie the calf down to doctor it and told me a few techniques for working with cattle when they are down. It was a great week and I learned a lot. Also, after a few hot days and some “rain” from the pivot, the Triticale that I planted is coming up nicely! It is so rewarding to see the fruits of my labor! Next week, we have more docking and cattle moving on the agenda.

Published by is a visit to the day-to-day lives of America’s original animal welfare advocates and environmentalists.

One thought on “Jedidiah learns about commercial sheep production

  1. Just a short note tonight. Your mother and aunt Jayne left here about an hour ago to go to Jayne’s house tonight. It sounds to me like you are having a time of your life.You are learning a lot I am sure. GOOD NIGHT AND KNOW WE LOVE YOU. SURE ENJOY YOUR POST’S LOL

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