Riddlesden Jacobs

A site about a West Yorkshire flock of Jacob Sheep


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Checking sheep and thunderstorms

If you were in Riddlesden last night you will have been treated to a spectacular thunderstorm. The lightning created quite a light show in the sky and the thunder was deafening – and rumbled on for a very long time.

img_1335Over the last few days we have been checking all our sheep. Obviously this is something we need to do regularly. We see them almost every day anyway and keep an eye on them so we’d spot any urgent problems. However, every so often we bring them all in and have a look at all of them properly. We try and coincide this with worming or any other regular treatment they might need. This round of routine maintenance showed again how important it is to know your sheep and keep an eye on them. We got all the rams into the shed (they follow a bucket – makes life so much easier) and a couple just had slightly mucky back ends. One of them though was behaving a little oddly. He was more nervous around us than usual and just laid down in the corner of the shed while we were looking at another one. We couldn’t immediately see a problem though when we got hold of him. He was a little mucky but didn’t seem to be scouring badly at all. Because he had been a bit weird we took our time, turned him over and had a really good look and then we spotted it – just a few little maggots on the inside of his back leg. Nothing dramatic but definitely the start of something potentially very nasty.img_1337

We sorted him out, treated the little wound with antiseptic spray and also sprayed him with fly and maggot killer. We so easily could have missed that but we both just felt he wasn’t quite right. We checked him the next day and he’s fine. Then we wormed all the boys. Given that we have a half marathon coming up shortly and neither of us bends or bounces like we used to, we left the girls for another day. Better not to do our backs in!

Last night we planned to check the girls, worm them and then sit with them and have a little BBQ.img_1360 The girls were a little spooked and getting them penned up wasn’t as straight forward as usual. They came into the big pen fine but it took as a couple of goes to get them into the smaller pen so we could work. Some of our calmest ewes were clearly anxious about something. The girls were all fine and we worked through worming them quite quickly. It was hot and muggy and they were panting away so we were keen to get them out again.

When we were done we were looking forward to a little sit down and some food and we turned round and were treated to this view of the sky getting darker and darker:

The sky was getting more and more menacing every minute and we (wisely, it turned out) decided to abandon the BBQ and head home. Just as well really because just about 15 minutes after we got home the sky at the back of our house looked like this:

The storm at least explains why the sheep were anxious, they could probably sense it coming and didn’t want to be penned up in a small space. I can sympathise with that. I’d love know where they sheltered and how they deal with a thunderstorm but I wasn’t about to head out and check!