Ha, ha- guess what? I was remembering the weigh in weights as 10 pounds heavier than they really were. Dur, dur, dur, dur. Way to go, Mom. Now that I tracked down the real initial weights- we're averaging .53 pounds gained per day on feed (.53#/dof). That number's still not great, but I think it will look better the next time I weigh them.
A little over a week ago Chris woke me up to tell me that there were dogs in the sheep pen. I went out and sure enough, there were two black dogs sitting at the gate, wagging their tales at me. When I went in they started growling, but moved away from me. They'd been there for a while. There were five sheep hiding in the little shelter in the dog kennel (my husband built a huge dog kennel and it's the main "corral" for the sheep- they're out on pasture, but can still get into the kennel, it's where we grain them).
I couldn't convince the dogs to exit the gate, so I started looking for the two missing sheep while keeping an eye on the dogs. The Boise market lamb, Sheepy, was standing pressed against the side of the shop. He looked fine, he just wasn't moving around. Lily, our bum lamb, was dead on the ground. She'd been gutted. Of course- she's Chris's favorite.
Since I couldn't get the dogs out without upsetting the sheep- and I did not want the sheep starting to run with the dogs in the pen- I went back to the house. On my short walk back I had to make the choice between shooting the dogs while they were still in the pen or getting their owner. Since I was positive they were from the house back behind us, I got my keys instead of a shotgun and made an early morning call in my nightgown to tell the neighbors I needed their dogs out of my sheep NOW.
That's always a lovely way to meet your new neighbors, isn't it? Especially since I was wearing my nightgown and not much else. The neighbors were great about the situation and even took Lily and buried her so that I didn't have to deal with her. They paid for her and the vet bill for the rest of the flock.
Every lamb we own had scrapes and scratches in all four of their armpits. The big, blackface ewe, Tulip, had a couple large scrapes on one flank. Sam's little ewe had a large cut in her left, front, armpit which required stitches (she's still swollen and stiff).
Sheepy looked good, but still wouldn't rejoin the flock so the vet and I went out to him- she thinks he broke his left, front leg. The suspected break was high enough, towards his shoulder, that she couldn't splint him in the pasture. She said we could bring him in if we really wanted to, but she recommended not moving him around that much because it could displace the break. She was also uncertain that a splint would work well, since the whole shoulder would have to be immobilized. So far he's looking good. He's a little stiff on that front leg, but actually limps less than Brisca (Sam's ewe) does.
At any rate- back to that rate of gain thing... I'm not too concerned about the mediocre rate of gain because I'm pretty certain the dogs ran off a week's worth of gain. We'll try to weigh more often so that we can keep on eye on things. I'd like to boost that gain to .7#/day from here until fair time. Chris has been excellent about feeding the sheep and keeping them in fresh water. He really is committed to keeping them healthy and happy (plus, he wants more money).
We've started buying from a feed store in Caldwell. This is big news to me for two reasons. First, they give us an excellent price on feed with a 4-H discount. Second, the sales rep delivers the feed to our house. She even brought Chris a pallet to keep the feed on so that it doesn't absorb moisture from the concrete shop floor. Betz Feed, Caldwell, Idaho- they deserve a shout out! Awesome people, very youth friendly, very knowledgeable.