Monday, April 6, 2009

Horn Trim

I have been uninspired about posting lately. Mostly it's because I've been super busy. There is also mud and snow everywhere. Winter is old and seems to have no intention of leaving. Water is flowing across our road in three places so I know things are melting somewhere. But the ground is still quite covered in crusty snow.
Today was supposed to be my shearing date. I postponed it last week as it was obvious no amount of warm weather was going to give me bare dry ground...even on a hill top. We've rescheduled for the last Saturday in April and I'm praying the blizzards don't sweep in late like they did last year.
Lambing officially starts next Wednesday April 15. I am NOT ready. The girls are still in their winter pen. I always move them to new ground for lambing but the ground has been too frozen to put the electronet up by the lambing barn. The upper Dutch doors on the lambing shed need to be hung as well. Last year the barn wasn't quite finished and I worried about babies when the cold windy weather blew in. Clancy should be able to get that job done in just a quick hour.
The CD&T shots were given to the pregnant girls at the right time. The lambs and rams still need theirs but that can happen anytime. We trimmed hooves on the bred girls the same day they got their shots. We just trimmed ewe lambs hooves tonight. Toes were long but everyone has healthy feet otherwise.
Bombarde also had his right horn trimmed a couple weeks back. That was harder to do than I expected. Clancy held him and I used that wire back and forth. It did a fine job of cutting through the horn once I got a groove started. The photo above is a before shot. Clancy wants to file down the side of the horn that runs along the cheek even a bit more. I expect that will be a bit of work. This type of job actually goes fast, but it requires a whole lot of fierce, concentrated energy from the human to get done. Bombarde is a half-polled ram. If I didn't know so much about him, and value his conformation and fleece so highly, he would be an example of bad horns on a Shetland. His one and only male offspring from last year had nice widespread horns.
Here's hoping for small scurs on one of his ramlings this year. The ewes can hold off for a bit longer, though. I'm patient. There is lots to get done before lambs hit the ground.


Becky Utecht said...

When we had Bombarde, he sired a scurred ram lamb and a nice wide horned ram lamb. The conformation and fleece he produces in his offspring is worth the extra effort. Kudos to you and Clancy for taking that task on! Can't wait to hear about your lambs.

Juliann said...

Bombarde is an awesome ram, and that's a great photo of his horns. May I please use it on my polled pages of my website? Pretty please? :)
I'll give you and your farm credit...

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Of course you may use the photo, Juliann. Thank you for asking permission though. Registered name is ShelteringPines Bombarde.

Terri D. said...

Spring IS on the way. It has finally arrived here in E. Central MN. It won't be too long and it will reach you. We are finally starting to see the mud dry up here. BTW, your pic of Bombarde is very nice!

Gail V said...

Hi Sabrina!
I need to cut a horn tip on my scurred, gray yearling ram soon-- it's one that DIDN'T break early on, and it's going the wrong way--
so you used the OB wire? Blood stop powder?
You and I should be getting lambs at about the same time. . . good luck!

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Hi Gail,

I just used the ob wire. I wrapped it around pencils on each end so I had something to grip. Larger dowels or sticks would have worked better I think.

I felt the horn at the base where it was warm, and then I kept retouching the horn farther out to find where it was cool and didn't have as much blood flow. I had to cut through at a thick spot to keep it off his face. Clancy was worried we'd hit blood vessels. It never did bleed. In the end, we saw a small inner circle of white tissue that probably had some blood flow. But the hot wire action seemed to cauterize the vessels as we went. It was about a quarter inch in diameter. So we had cut in pretty far from any major blood supply. Clancy is going to take a file and rasp down the heavy material near the face so there is even more room. Hope that helps.
I suppose blood stop powder would be a good thing to have on hand. It turned out we didn't need it, though. :)