I spent about two hours yesterday chasing lambs to dock their tails. I finally tackled this one behind one of the sheep shelters. It was all very dignified.
If we were some of those real farmer people, we wouldn’t be chasing lambs around. We’d corral them into the barn and corner them in a stall. We’d dock their tails lickety-split and go home to sip iced tea out of Mason jars on the porch instead of spending the better part of an afternoon chasing them around three pastures.
But we’re not real farmer people and we don’t have a barn. So we looked up in a book how to dock tails and we chased them around three pastures till we captured them one at a time. (Boomer was not actually helping.)
We managed to get the mamas and the other sheep (and Jack–
–he hates it when I lump him in with the sheep as if he’s ONE OF THEM) separated so we didn’t have so many interfering woolly bodies in the way.
(Annabelle’s not a sheep, either. She hates it when I don’t point that out.)
Only the babies can go under the gate, so we had to keep trying to herd them back to the right pasture.
Lambs pretty much only want to be your friend if you’re bottle-feeding them. Annabelle used to take walks with me! But these lambs? All they care about is their mama. Their mamas don’t really care about me, either, but I do have a fantastical bucket, so I got my bucket of feed and sat down in the sheep shelter. I lured one mama at a time into the sheep shelter with my bucket and pounced on whichever baby made the mistake of following her in there.
52 swooped in and docked their tails while I held them. This worked pretty good at first, but the last one got the system figured out, which is how I ended up belly-flopped on top of a lamb on the ground behind the sheep shelter.
You dock lambs’ tails using this little doohickey.
It has four prongs that spread out. You stretch one of the little orange bands around the prongs then slide it up the lamb’s tail and release it. It cuts off the circulation and the tail eventually falls off. It only hurts for a short time then the tail goes numb, so the lamb isn’t in any longterm discomfort.
It’s healthier for them to have their tails docked–a sheep with a long tail is susceptible to attracting maggots and flies. They would be in more and lifelong discomfort if their tails weren’t docked.
I didn’t even know sheep were born with tails until I had sheep.
Mamas comfort babies right away.
The babies wanted even less to do with us than before.
I think they were a little mad.
Especially this one.
That’s the one I tackled behind the sheep shelter. I was picking stuff out of my hair all afternoon, so I’m pretty sure I looked like this:
I gathered some flowers to add to our Easter dinner table before I went home.
These old-fashioned daffodils are growing in our meadow. We don’t know who planted them or when. The forsythia is growing along the creekbank.
Then I cooked and baked and prepped until I fell into bed so that I would have today’s meal ready as much as possible in advance because we are driving to Ohio to look at a possible new addition to our farm.
NO! I can’t tell you! It’s a SECRET.
Maybe I’ll tell you tomorrow.
Happy Easter, if you celebrate! Either way, have a lovely day!
P.S. We are having roasted leg of lamb (NOT ONE OF OURS!) with mint jelly (finally, I deserve some), garlic mashed potatoes, green beans (home-canned, from last year’s garden), scalloped corn (from the garden, too!), cornmeal yeast rolls, old-fashioned chocolate cake, and lemon cake pie. With flowers picked from the meadow bottom and dyed eggs from my chickens for table decoration. And maple sticky buns for breakfast!
You? What are you serving/doing today? Anything secret? YOU CAN TELL ME.