Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The old ones

The recent Jacob Sheep Breeders Association newsletter posed the question in their monthly poll, "What do you do with your old ewes?" It's a good question. I can't wait to read the answers.  I have a friend who sells all his does and ewes when they are 6 or 7 and he keeps replacement daughters for the ones he really likes. Very sensible shepherding practice.

Right now, 18-year-old Halfie cat is trying to push the computer off my lap. She's fairly toothless and needs daily combing, because she doesn't wash herself anymore, but she's purring happily and is my early morning helper and companion. My black-brindle-gone-gray Scrapie dog is at my feet. No telling her age. She was in her early middlin years when she hopped into my van in 2005.

Durfria, Lena's Arabian mare just turned 30. Her feet are good and her coat looks good. Her teeth are actually great. She has tummy troubles though, and gets a special feed with supplements now. The vet is worried and wants to do tests. We said, "She's 30," and he gave us a shot to give her when she's hurting.
Thyme is our original Jacob ewe.  She's 4-horned and ma or
great-grandma to much of the flock through her grandson
Dapper Dan.
She's at least 12 and more likely 13 or 14.

Old Thyme is our oldest and eldest Jacob ewe. She was our first Jacob sheep. We bought her with lamb at side in 2001. She's now toothless, but oddly enough, with our new high-grain drought feeding regimen, I've never seen her this fat. She actually has weight on her bones.

In the last few years, we've lost most of our foundation flock to age. Marjoram and Pennyroyal were dearly loved and missed when they passed. My grizzled old ranch vet was compassionate when he helped Marj on her way. We have several more sheep and goats in the 9-year-old bracket.

What do we do with our old ewes? We just keep loving them.

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