The new year has rung in, and in the Abilene area, a last-second rain-ice-snow combo fell, delivering 0.8 inches rain and about 1 inch of snow to our field. This will be great for the spring growth as the region is in a drought (according to Drought Monitor). There’s also another precipitation possibility within the next two weeks as of this post, hopefully it does bring rain. We hope every had a safe, wonderful, and warm holiday season.
In typical fashion though, the snow did not stay long. It did gives us some valuable information on the animal tracks that go through the property. Below, we believe we have some feral hog tracks. The feral hogs have damaged, via rooting, the field in a large section. Currently we are in communication with a neighbor about this problem and have allowed hunters to shoot any feral hogs. Over December they shot at least a few to our knowledge. Feral hogs are a widely-known problem in Texas, and this is been a problem in our neighbor only as of this past year. Working with them has been great in helping to keep the pigs in check.
Given the drought, and then the sudden icy weather, the sheep are still eating hay for the winter. They’re currently eating “haygrazer” a type of sorghum hay. The sheep have eaten fresh sorghum before, eating both the stalks, leaves, and seed heads. As a hay, it suffices for their needs, though the larger stalks tend to be left behind in favor of the leaves and thinner pieces. Komuji (the larger one) and Koji (the smaller one) below have been happily munching on it, favoring it quite heavily at times even over their supplements.
The leftover stalk pieces are being used as a bedding. With the bit left over each day, we add it as fresh bedding for them to rest on. Avani (below) and the others tend not to eat the bedding of stalks. But when fallen leaves were added, they did nibble on those a bit. As of this writing, we’re still waiting on babies, some of the ewes are really huge and look like balloons ready to pop!
With the new year started now we begin to assess and ready for the rest of the year. First up is repairing the electric fencing where there’s been a tear here and there. We’ll also be stocking up later this month for our hay supplies for the coming spring through autumn. We’ve also got several new lamb recipes we’ll be testing and tasting out from Russia and Central Asia, including Lamb manti, oromo, and lagman.
And our wait in line has come to slaughter one of our young rams. Coronavirus closures of plants has resulted in a massive backup at local, small-owned slaughter facilities. We called to schedule back last summer, and they didn’t have anything until this year! With things getting back in stride hopefully everyone will stay safe with COVID-19 and with the vaccinations rolling out, things will become smoother this year.