Posted by: 347bennetrd | July 31, 2010

Four Seasons in One Day

Wooo a full-on day today…  Started off by vaccinating the twotooths.  They needed a booster shot for campylobacter which can cause a substantial increase in the abortion rate in a flock.  Out of all the farming duties, treating the sheep is probably my most difficult and tiring job.  You wade through the sheep packed tightly in a race, either drenching or injecting them.  It feels like each one fights you – either putting its head down meaning you have to pull it back out by force (with it fighting all the way) or by it jumping up, trying to rush past, kicking, shaking its head or just general pummelling.  Its physically tiring but mentally exhausting too.

Anyhoo, so we actually did quite well – drafted all 1200 ewes to remove the rams, then vaccinated them by midday.  It was a lovely morning – warm sun and a little breeze to cool me down when I got too hot.

At lunchtime Mum commented that the weather was due to change, and as I drove away I thought, hmm do I need my leggings?  The decision not to return and get them was one I would later regret while being dragged through a pool of mud by a ram while wet slushy sleet was adding to the mix…

I went and shifted the calf break – I’ve got this sussed so it didn’t take too long.  The rain had started at this point, but I had my parka on so was nice and dry up top.  I pulled out a sack from my bike to sit on so I wouldn’t get a wet bum on the way back to the shed.

Then we put the crates on the 4-wheeler trailers and set off to go and catch the rams out of the light ewes.  The rain was turning to sleet as I drove down and when the mob was collected in a corner they had turned the area into a lovely mud arena.  While the sheep were milling about and contained by the dogs we would walk amongst them spotting the rams and catching them to put in the crate.  I only did one – I caught it by the back leg and grimly held on while it tried to shake me loose.  We both ended up in the mud, but finally (with a bit of help) I got it in.

The last job was to follow the freshly vaccinated twotooths up the hill and back to their paddock.  They had been gently grazing their way up so it was a simple matter just to push them the last little bit.  By this stage however I was completely soaked from the thighs down.  The slush had turned to blizzard, a biting southerly blasting its way up, wet snow resting on me, trusty woolly hat soaked.   Brrrrrr….

This post is from about a month ago but I didn’t post it cos I didn’t have a photo.  Here is a random photo of some sheep going up the hill with snow.  I got Blue to follow them up while I sneaked ahead to open the gate and direct them in.

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