Today we woke up before the sun rose. 5:30, to be ready for work at 6:30, which was just light enough to see properly in the dark.
It was a bit chilly, so my hands were numb and sore for the first hour or so….but as we got cranking into work, my jacket, sweater, pants….all came off! I ended up changing into t-shirt and shorts as I was roasting.
We were working with 1200 lambs today!
I’ve got some photos here amidst the initial separating (we call it drafting) and you can really see the angst and worry in the mums. We found several who had been born in the yards over night (3) and pulled them out of harms way.
The lambs tails / nuts we’re taken care of.
Tails leave dags, and days lead to fly blow (which is honestly the most gruesome horrible way I think one might die). Flies literally live in their wool, and eat into their behinds, until they die (if the farmer doesn’t catch it).
So to help stop the feces from staying in the wool, the tail comes off.
Nuts are also gone, as we don’t want any of these little guys getting their sisters or mothers pregnant!
Ear tags, and ear marks we’re also put in today. We luckily didn’t have to do that but I was part of a team who did all of the hard work in SA, so I know what it’s like to work directly with the lambs. We were just organising the lambs, spraying the mums bums for flies, and getting the sheep back out into the paddocks.
There is also a contraversial technique called mulesing that they use here for their long term sheep. It is not something I’d sit and watching for too long! Though it looks sore… I would prefer to have my sheep done, specifically in fly infested WA!
We have seen a few sheep die from being flyblown and if this is what we can do to help stop….as horrible as it may look, the long term effects are worth it. I know a lot of animals lovers wouldn’t like to see this, but until there is a better way….I think this is the only option that actually works!
I didn’t take any photo’s of the mulesing, but might on Friday!