The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Shearing Day 2012!

Hold still!
It's that time of year already. Today my yearling ewes were shorn, and it's always so nice to see them with a year's growth of wool gone. I don't jacket my sheep, my pasture isn't weed free, and the big field where I train my dogs has all kinds of weeds and seeds, so these fleeces are far from clean. The staple length is good though, 5" to 8" depending on Cheviot or Leicester, and I take care with my livestock, so the wool is strong, and consistent.

Nope...does't like it!
My regular shearer couldn't make it this year, but referred me to another, which was handy. In my part of the world, shearers are scarce. Not a lot of sheep raising going on in Southern California. The kid they sent did a respectable job, but second cuts were abundant. A second cut occurs when the shearer makes a first pass, then passes the clipper blades over the same area a 2nd time, causing short fiber to get mixed in with the longer 1st cuts. He was efficient though, and didn't nick anybody, so no medicine was necessary.

Leicester yearling ewe
The body condition of my yearlings wasn't what I hoped for. They were a little light, but framey, meaning they should pick up well when I begin feeding again this summer. Now I only supplement their grass pasture with a bit of hay pellets. During the summer and fall, the grass is long gone, they're on hay and pellets and they will gain.

A bred Cheviot yearling
I didn't breed all my sheep this year, and only a couple of the Cheviots were put to the ram. I decided to hold most of them back and breed them next year when they're older and stronger. I was trying to avoid lambing problems. Here's hoping for twin ewe lambs! I have a few fans who love my lambs for holidays, birthdays, and celebrations, and that's where the wethers go. I love to see the lambs come and I love to see 'em sold.

Like a shiny new penney
I look forward to shearing day...mainly because I don't have to do it myself. It's a tough job. Dirt, lanolin and a pungent sheep odor permeates everything by the time you're done, and it's notoriously hard on your body. I did it a few years ago, and my body ached for days afterwards. My shearer, Zane, is young and strong, and made the job look easy. Although compared to the halter-broke 4H lambs he did before me, my girlz gave him a run for his money...but I tipped him!

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