Tuesday, January 17, 2012
It should have worked
Yes, that is how my morning went. I tried a new set up this year for loading the lambs because I had loaned out my X pen that I usually use to form kind of a chute. Plus, the snow wasn't very deep so I thought it would be easy to have the trailer right up by the barn. Usually we have to leave the trailer in the driveway and bring the sheep to it.
So, last night Dane shoveled a little snow out of the way and backed the trailer right up to the barn door. He said to use the giant plywood sheets to make sides for the ramp up to the trailer, but in the morning I wasn't sure I could move the plywood, plus I was afraid of ruining it. Instead, I grabbed a spare gate and a smaller piece of plywood.
I figured it would take me 20 minutes to half an hour to get the ramp made, and get the correct lambs sorted and pushed through the barn and loaded into the trailer.
Everything went fine with Hank helping me for the gathering of the lambs, the sorting, and putting the lambs through the barn. The first one started up the trailer, then the second one decided my ramp sides were too low and bailed over the side. By pushing hard, I got three more lambs in the trailer, but then the rest either jumped the sides or scooted under a crack in the bottom by the gate. Dang it. Now I had 4 lambs loose in the barn yard. I sent Hank to round them up, thinking I'd just put them back in the barn and try again.
But they wanted nothing to do with that barn door, treating it like a solid wall, and every time I'd get them close this one little wether would make a bolt for freedom. I was losing it. A few swear words and dire threats were issued. After several more attempts at getting them in the barn. I was about ready to butcher the one wether on the spot with my teeth.
Just then Dane came outside with the kids. Pepper, who is very enthusiastic and only partly trained, slipped past them from the house and came bearing down on us and our four flighty lambs like a freight train. I reacted quickly. I stepped out in front of her and in my fiercest voice said "DOWN" and she did. Whew! I quickly grabbed her and put her in the car out of the way.
Dane helped me grab two more lambs and toss them up in the trailer. The last two were now very squirrelly from being separated into such a small group, and Hank was having trouble holding them. So I did my one and only sensible act of the morning, I went and had Hank sort off one of the old ewes to bring out and settle the lambs down again. After a bit more work we got them all together and were able to grab the last two lambs and get them loaded.
It ended up taking about twice as long as I thought, but at least they were all alive, uninjured and on the trailer. I hope Dane made it to work on time.
In another week we should have a nicely stocked freezer again.
"It should have worked" is a phrase often used by Norm Andrews, a cattleman and writer of humorous stories from Nebraska. To see one of Norm's stories/photo galleries, click here:
Dog Tales from A Cattleman