We continue to be a little fox obsessed. Foxes are our major predator here and they seem to be in plague proportions. Everywhere we drive there are dead foxes beside the road. Today I counted five travelling the 50 Klms into Canberra. We will need to be well prepared for lambing in September or will suffer big loses. It is time to plan our first baiting programme.
Things are looking up. The Council will be here today to finally mend the road. The contractors say it will take 300 tons of rock to fix that big muddy mess. That much rock should mean that it stays fixed.
The paperwork has arrived for the new internet service, so once that is installed we will be back to normal.
The dryer weather has also meant that we have been able to get some sheep work done. The commercial flock has finally been sorted and the last of the lambs weaned. We are now selling off our old ewes to reduce the number of sheep we will be carrying into the winter. The old girls still have the potential to give another lamb or two, so they will be a good starter for anyone just wanting a few sheep.
Things will be a little shaky with the blog over the next few weeks, the satellite dish and server have come to the end of their life and we can now only access dial up. Slow but better than nothing. We have been instructed to contact the National Broadband Network about getting a new system, but they tell us it will take between 4-6 weeks. So the blog can only be updated when I am in Canberra. We will do the best we can.
The update on the road is that the Council will be here any day. Aleast when they fix the road it is unlikely to be a problem again. None of the areas they have repaired in the past have caused problems during the big wet.
With all the rain, and a motorbike/4wd event up the road, our road on both sides, has become little more than a mud wrestling pit. At least 13 vehicles have become bogged to the axles since Sunday. Four phone calls to Cooma shire have bought no result, as have two phone calls to John Barilaro, (member for Monaro) not even a courteous return call from either. My frustration is unimaginable! We have sheep to supply, sheep to oversee on the other block, and no one gives a damn. No wonder I'm a grumpy old man!
We have decided we need to find softer homes for our old F3 ewes, they have been great producers in our commercial flock and popped out a lamb every year. We don't want to send them off on a truck to the saleyards, where they will be pushed around. Nor do we want to carry them through the winter here. It will be much better if we can find them a home that can fuss over them a bit and feed them a few nuts (our daughter calls them sheep crack). They have been running with Stud Dorper Rams and should start lambing in May. So for the right person at $60 we think they would be a good buy.
We are in the process of preparing our show team for the Sydney Royal, we learnt so much last year and had such a good time that we are keen to go again. The team has been chosen and we have begun feeding them, it is a delicate process as they have not had any supplements before. They are also taught to come to be fed, as well as carefully conditioned to the ration. It is easy to kill sheep if the grain ration is not introduced slowly, enabling the gut flora time to adjust to the new foodstuff.
When the rain stops, five of these cold, dirty, bedraggled lambs will hopefully clean up well enough to make the Show Team. The lack of a suitable shed was ok last year, as the weather was kinder. This year all of us trying to prepare for the Show here in the south, are finding it challenging.
We are currently unable to leave the farm as the road in both directions is impassable a causeway washed out one way and a metre deep of mud in the other. The local Shire Council does not think it will get here to repair the road before Monday. On the bright side it is a good opportunity to catch up on the paper work.
Today the sun is shining and the damage of the last ten days assessed. We have lost a few sheep, one old ewe that was a bit poor succumbed to the relentless rain,as did a low weight weaner. This morning may reveal more losses when we check out the impact at the other block. We have longed for a huge shearing shed where we could shelter all the sheep during this unusual
weather event, just feel so sorry for the stock having to endure day and night without respite,and the ground covered in water, making rest hard.
Our poor sheep have been standing in the rain for almost ten days now and there is more to come. Sheep endure this type of weather but it interferes with eating, resting and joining. They also use energy just keeping warm, fortunately we don't have any lambs to be concerned about.
We have been asked about "flushing" and what it means: In the normal flock it is achieved by putting the ewes onto better feed to create a rising plane of nutrition, this can be done by feeding suplements such as lupins, which are high in protein, or giving them access to high quality pasture prior to joining. The point of this is to increase conception rates, with the hoped for result of more lambs at weaning. Which improves the bottom line of the enterprise.
In embryo transfer programs, "flushing" means chemically stimulating the ovaries to produce a larger number of ova, for fertilising and transplanting.