It was decision day today because it was P day, meaning pregnancy checking for the ewes. Although we had a large flock years ago we did not have the technology available to scan with ultra sound and so would always have a few ewes coming through empty. This is an extra expense on the feed bill and can hurt in a year when feed is short. Today with the aid of our local Veterinarian Doctor Jay we could sort the keepers and the culls very quickly saving two months worth of feed for those unworthy ewes.
As I had mentioned in an earlier post these are all old girls so we knew we would have some empties, the worry was how many. Well I am pleased to say that we had an 84% conception rate. Now before you shepherds laugh at such a low rate ( its hard for me as our old flock regularly did 98-100%) remember some of these girls are 10 -13 years old!!
Jay was rigged up like he was going to play one of those action computer games, the eye piece allows him to see what is on the monitor in the back ground. They are blue tooth and so completely wireless, which is great, as it's one less thing to trip over. The whole unit sits in a back pack behind him and is connected to the white wand in his hand. This he runs over the belly of the ewe and the eye piece and screen show if she has lambs or is empty. I stood behind the ewes to keep them steady, it only takes a matter of seconds for each one. This is a great management tool and helps flock margins as the cost per ewe is small compared to the savings gained.
We had a three way sort today, empties to be shipped, bred and in good shape (they went back to the field) and bred and in need of extra feed which were kept in and will be fed a higher level of feed to put them in better condition before lambing.
As for the empties they will have to be shipped and will be coming in a weiner near you!! Two are young ,one 3 or 4 years old and the other a ewe lamb ,a yearling. The yearling will be butchered as a lamb and feed us over summer and the other one will make good patties for the Barbecue. Who says revenge is best served cold, I like mine hot with mint sauce.