I proceeded to do the fall maintenance chores on all the ewes and wethers- this involves catching all of them in the barn then catching them one by one and hoisting them onto the shearing stand. Then I gave them graham crackers while I check their inner eye kid color (for evidence of anemia), brushed off their coat, trimmed the hair from their behinds (called crutching), and trimmed their hooves. For the breeding animal crutching helps ensure successful breeding, but it also helps keep the urine, mud and poop off their wool and skin through the wet winter months.
While I was doing this Tom and Jody fixed, re-stapled and patched the fence. The Shetland rams have been trying to ram our Suffolk cross ram through the fence again and damaged it in the process. Since I’m going to be putting the rams and some of the ewes in breeding groups next week, I want to make sure the fencing is good to prevent accidental breeding.
Then the vet came. The three youngest goat kids (Esmerelda, Ggoorrsstt and Beethoven) were disbudded after local anesthesia and sedation, then Ggoorrsstt and Beethoven were banded so they will become wethers. I think it’s much more humane to have this done with anesthesia and sedation- they can still feel it, but it doesn’t hurt nearly as much, and they can sleep it off afterwards.
Then the vet checked our two Highland cows for pregnancy. Dana- our younger cow- still hadn’t produced a calf after 2 years with our Dexter bull so we were becoming concerned that she was infertile or miscarrying. If this was the case we were going to have her butchered on Saturday. The vet checked her, and she has a calf due in 2 weeks. This is despite the fact she doesn’t look that wide, and her udder is only slightly developed. Then he checked our older cow Hana. We were hoping to butcher her since she is destructive and unruly. But we found out that she is 5 months along. So no fresh Highland beef for about 1 year. And we have to stretch our 16 tons of hay to feed all these extra critters. But we’ll have some more beautiful Highland-Dexter calves born on the farm. Next year we’ll separate Hana from Roscoe (our bull) much sooner.