The air is cold, and I have spent the past two days getting ready for the freeze that was coming our way. I do not care much for the cold. Where I live there is not frosty wonderland to see the morning of a freeze, everything covered with frosty crystals. Here when there is a freeze, it is ice covering everything.
To prep for the freeze I gave the dogs in the kennels a fresh bed of wool to help stay warm. I do raise hair sheep, but there are times that even this breed of sheep needs to be sheared. I shear the wool and hair from the top of the back on the show sheep and the first year sheep. First year sheep have a harder time shedding the lamb hair, so I give them some assistance by shearing them the first year. This wool I store in order to use for dog bedding in the cold, icy winter months.
The dogs enjoy their nice soft wool beds, except one. This year we have a young male Akbash cross pup, Bruno (We don’t talk about Bruno…lol). He is eight months old and doing his job protecting the sheep. The livestock guard dogs do not stay in the kennel, but they have a dog house to get out of the weather if needed. I put a nice bed in his house, the next morning all the wool was scattered around his dog house and in the sheep pen. I am not sure how much time he spends in his house for protection from the weather but it is there if he chooses to. The nice wool bed I provided for his sleeping comfort, he decided would be more fun to play with. I can try to help improve their lives, but ultimately it is up to the dog in making the choice to sleep in the shelter and on the bed provided.
I have shelters for the horses and sheep. My favorite mare, My Sweet Victoria, would not use a shelter for years. She would stand outside, and have everyone stand outside with her during the storms. It has only been the past three years she has decided it was ok to use a shelter during a storm. She has had the same shelter for twelve years, and only started using it three years ago. Her two pen mates are happy they are able to use the shelter. My Sweet Victoria is not happy while using the shelter, she is very nervous, but she has figured it is better to be dry than happy.
I have also been prepping the lambing barn. I am close to lambing time again. I do not like lambing in the cold months of the year as there is more work to do. I make sure the lambing pens have shavings for the floor and the heat lamps are working correctly. In the cold months, the newborn lambs need extra heat for a few days, especially at night. The mamas and babies stay in the lambing pens for about three days, then they rejoin the flock. The babies have learned who mama is, gained some strength and are good to return with their moms to the flock.
Last month I made sure the water lines and other areas are winterized for the cold months ahead. Since I do not have the ewes in the lambing barn until they are ready to lamb, I have to prepare it just before lambing and between ewes.
Today, we are set for the cold months ahead, except Bruno who scattered his bed. Ooops, we don’t talk about Bruno….lol