Thursday, May 26, 2011

Barn swallows and lamb struggles

I saw my first barn swallow this week, but by the looks of the nest I saw in the barn this morning, they've been back a bit longer than that!

I've taken the sheep to the lower pasture a couple times now, which requires haltering as many as I can to get the whole ewe flock to follow me through the arena to a new area. This gives me the perfect opportunity to halter-train lambs, because they want to stay with the others regardless of the contraption on their heads. Once I get everyone else busy eating grass, I work with the "victim(s) of the day" a little more.

Here is Bonny, in halter and on a lead for the second time. She is such a smart little girl; both times she fought the halter for awhile then came up right up to me. I, of course, scritch her all over and tell her how smart and beautiful she is, then remove the halter and let her go join the flock.



This is Barrister's third time in halter and on a lead. He is much more dramatic and vocal, demonstrating his displeasure with lots of head-bobbing and tail-wagging. His new owner plans to show him at Black Sheep Gathering, so we obviously need more practice!



These are the latest two iris to open. Yes, they are adorned with raindrops; we've settled into another cool, wet stretch here. For that and other reasons, we opted out of a Memorial weekend horse-camping trip.

That today's report from . . .

14 comments:

Christine said...

Where did you get your halters? They fit much better than the ones I have.

Michelle said...

Christine, I think they are the best-fitting halters out there! I get them from www.usefullamaitems.com; they are the "3-Way Adjustable (Mallon Design) Alpaca Halter." I get the XS/weanling for lambs, and the S/yearling for the adults. The S/yearling alpaca doesn't fit all my rams, so I need to figure out which llama size would be the next size up and order a couple of those (I have some other halters I have been able to "make do"). I really like that they adjust three different ways, and have a clip fastener, so once the size is set you don't have to buckle/unbuckle anything. I buy matching "Light Flat Lead Ropes," one for each halter.

Michelle said...

P.S. With your new additions, I'll bet you'll find LOTS of interesting and useful things to buy from that company! ;-)

Leigh said...

Thanks for the link! I have collars for my goats and have been working with the kids, but didn't thank about halter and lead training. We've made good progress though. They've learned not to jump up on me when I'm facing them. However, when my back is turned I'm still fair game! Lambs and kids. Sure keep things interesting.

Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

Two years ago we bought weaned Suffolks for 4-H projects who had never been haltered or led. They would jump 3 feet up in the air and throw themselves onto their sides. We've had Addy and Maddy in basic nylon lead halters 4 or 5 times now and they are doing great! Boy, Barrister is not a happy boy with that contraption on him. The market lambs and sheep for 4-H are shown in hand, with no halter. How are fleece lambs and sheep shown?

Michelle said...

Ruth, most fleece sheep are shown in hand, but the Shetlands are so short that most of us opt for halters -- easier on the back!

Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

I always feel bad for my daughter... She is 5'9" and showing lambs is hard as she has to bend so far over to move them around... It would be nice if 4-H would allow halters.

Shula said...

I think they both did pretty well. None of them did the throw themselves on the ground and refuse to get up routine. I must start halter training mine too. The irises look beautiful.

Valerie said...

Oh my...had a flash back while watching the sheep in halters. Reminds me of my first bra!

Those barn swallows are fast to put up their nests. I love that they eat insects (esp. mosquitoes). I just wish they built their nests with flush toilets. Such a mess under those nests after a couple weeks.

Anonymous said...

OH boy, you just reminded me that I need to start halter training...I refuse to embarass myself at Jefferson again this year!!!
~Corinne

Diane said...

I love watching the temper tantrums - I WILL get away, you can't MAKE me, get this thing OFF me, waa waa waa. Hee hee.

Laura said...

When I worked with my lambs, I tied them to a fence, with a short lead, so they couldn't get their legs tangled up, and left them for about 3 hours (they were in the shade, and it was cool). Then, I took them back with some struggles, to the lamb creep, where I filled their little bellies. I did it again about a week later, and that was all it took. They would follow me just about anywhere, sure that full bellies were to follow wherever we went!

Christine said...

Thanks! I was actually already looking at that halter to get for the big girls so I guess I'll be ordering a few more in small. :)

Kathy said...

Sheep lungeing!