This was not a banner morning. I went out before it got light, with Gel and moved the sheep and LGDs down to the ElectroNet. That went okay. Then let out the chickens and ducks, fed them, fed the goats and went back into the house to get ready.
I looked out the bathroom window and saw Kitty and Rose playing with the sheep. The sheep were not taking to this activity. One of the sheep I got from SC had been acting like he couldn’t see. Wally is coming over night to help me catch him (I cannot hold on to a 100+ sheep by myself) (note to self, must make some sort of catch pen). Wally is not making a special trip to catch this sheep because if I absolutely had to catch him, I would: he’s bringing over the milk stand and large dog carrier so I can go and get my dairy goat tomorrow night.
Anyway, the sheep that I thought couldn’t see got run through the ElectroNet by Kitty and Rose. Shoot! Then Monty touched the ElectroNet (charged) got shocked and took off for the hills screaming his lungs out. Shoot! Got Gel and went down to put the sheep back up and fix the fence.
Tonight, Kitty and Rose are getting drag poles put on them so they can’t easily run to chase sheep. This is not uncommon in young LGDs. They are puppies and they like to play. A “drag pole” is a piece of wood such as a 2×4 about two feet long. You attach it with a chain to their collar so it drags about mid-belly. When the LGD tries to run, it bangs against their legs which discourages running. This is just a phase they are going through. They will grow out of it; but while they are growing out of it, I don’t want them running sheep.
Kitty and Rose prefer goats. They were born with goats. I’d put them in the bachelor pad (where there male goats are); but the goats are in with the ducks and as you know, Kitty and Rose think playing with ducks is very fun. I don’t want to loose any more ducks.
I am considering selling Kitty and Rose. If I can find a home for them with goats, I think that would be best for all concerned. I like them and think they are a benefit, but they are a lot of work. If a perfect home does not come up for them; I’ll keep them. The longer I keep them and the better they learn their jobs, the more they will be worth.
Meanwhile, regarding the blind sheep. After I got the sheep back in, I put some grain up near the fence and took a good look at him. Sure enough, his corneas are clouded over. Did some research and, as I expected, this is due to pink eye. A few weeks ago, we noticed one of the ewes from SC had very runny eyes. She’s fine now. One of the other ewes is blind in one eye (we just noticed this); another of the wethers at my house has runny eyes, but he can see fine. I wonder if the flock where these sheep came from were not carriers of pink eye. Apparently it is not too late to treat the blind sheep. Injectable oxytetracycline is supposed to work. So when Wally comes over tonight, we’ll administer the drug to the two sheep and he’ll take the blind sheep back to his house and put him in a stall for a few days to see if he gets better. Hopefully he will because he’s a good working sheep. None of our resident sheep seem to be affected. Hopefully it will stay that way.
Once I got the sheep settled, I went looking for Monty. He was no where to be found and he was due to go back to his owners this morning. Great! Went back in the house and finished getting ready. Looked out the window and saw him down by the pond. Yea! Caught him, loaded him in the car and headed to work.
The plan with the dairy goat is to put her in the fenced-in area when she arrives. I’ll put a collar and a light line on her so I can catch her. I might be able to walk right up to her, but if not, I can use Gel to bring her to me and then grab her line. She does lead well. I’ll milk her Thursday and Friday night and then late Saturday morning and on Sunday I’ll do it early. The reason for not going right to milking early is because I expect I’m going to have some issues with getting her on the stand the first few times. Everything will be new to her. She is a gentle goat and will get the hang of it. If I have trouble, there is a woman quite close to me who is an experienced milker. In fact, I might call her and ask if she’ll come over Thursday night to give me a hand. I’m so excited! For breakfast this morning, I had homemade goat milk yogurt. Yum! Goat milk yogurt is thinner than that made from cow’s milk. It tastes the same to me. Some people add powdered cow milk to their yogurt to thicken it, but that seems to defeat the purpose of fresh, raw milk.
Spoke to my mother on the way home last night. I told her about the dairy goat. I thought she was going to put me down about getting her; that would be the norm for my mother; but instead, she was quite supportive of it. We talked about the “old ways.” My mother grew up on raw milk and remembered when they started to sell pasteurizers and how great that “invention” was. I expect the invention of pasteurizers was in an effort to eliminate all the “harmful” bacteria, etc. in raw milk. What a shame because pasteurizing milk removes a lot of the benefits. Lots of people my mother’s age knew how to milk a cow or a goat. I wonder how many people my age know how. I wonder if anyone at the law firm I work at (about 300 people) know how to milk a cow or goat. I wonder how many know how to plant a garden. Probably not many.
A perfect way for terrorists to hit the US would be to do something to our food supply. Imagine if, for example, you couldn’t buy milk in the grocery store. What would people do? Remember how it was in NC when there was a gas shortage? People were fighting each other over gas. Granted, milk isn’t as important as gas, but it wouldn’t take much to cripple our country given our dependence on factory farming.