5 Essential Books for Lambing Season

Two sheep with lamb

As sheep (along with dogs) were among the first animals to be domesticated by human beings, it stands to reason that we have collectively accumulated a vast amount of information about raising and caring for these animals. For centuries this knowledge has been added to and passed down orally, from generation to generation. Then, with the advent of the printing press and the scientific method, our knowledge about the raising of sheep was able to be refined and preserved.

Like all ancient crafts, the raising and breeding of sheep is best learned by doing, in a hands-on manner, overseen by an experienced mentor. It does not lend itself well to pure book-learning by itself. And of the many different aspects of raising sheep, surely one of the most fraught and ticklish is the matter of lambing. Lambing, of course, is the act of a ewe (female sheep) giving birth to a baby lamb. A successful lambing season demands deep biological knowledge, familiarity with the personality of the ewe, the patience of a saint, and nerves of steel. Even then, so much can go wrong.

In that event, the sheep farmer—even the most seasoned—may find him/herself at the limit of their knowledge. If a trusted vet is not immediately available to assess the problem, it is up to the sheep farmer to solve it. The books listed below may be of assistance and should be ever-present in the sheep farmer’s barnyard library. Continue reading “5 Essential Books for Lambing Season”

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It’s Not Too Early to Prepare for Lambing Season

Two lambs in pasture

We typically associate lambing season with springtime. Yet many who keep sheep find that lambing can begin as early as December. Whatever time of year your lambing season begins, it is vital to plan ahead. Preparing well for lambing season will optimize the number of newborn lambs and help keep your flock healthy. Key preparations boil down to:

  • Proper management and feeding of the sheep
  • Readying the barn
  • Stocking up on needed supplies

Here are a few tips for preparing for a successful lambing season. Continue reading “It’s Not Too Early to Prepare for Lambing Season”

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Antique Dog License Tags are a Collectable

Antique dog tags

The earliest known documentation  of dog license tags was in 1446 in Utrecht, Holland, and the fee for the license was paid for in salt. I wonder how many pounds would be needed today?  At that time, the dog license tags were probably distributed by the local municipalities as is the case today.  These early dog license tags were intended to be disposable.  Those that were discarded years ago are frequently unearthed through the use of a metal detector.  Regardless of its condition, a buried, corroded or damaged dog license tag has value to a collector, especially if it is a rare specimen. Discovering a century-old tag is an extraordinary experience, especially if it is still attached to an old leather or metal collar. Keeping these dog license tags as they were found honors them as a sentimental keepsake and also preserves the historical evidence that allows more accurate dating. Continue reading “Antique Dog License Tags are a Collectable”

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Guide to Cow Tags and Other Cattle Identification Methods [Infographic]

Stable of cows with ear tags

Whether you own one head of cattle or thousands, it is important to manage your herd properly. At its most basic level, “herd management” means keeping track of your cows through some means of reliable identification. In previous centuries, this meant simply guarding against loss or thievery. One of the oldest methods of doing so was to mark the animals permanently with a brand, which left on the skin a unique identifying symbol to establish ownership of the animals.

Nowadays, the purposes for identifying cattle have multiplied. In addition to proving ownership, those who keep cattle should also maintain accurate records regarding performance, breeding, origin of the animal, its health, vaccination history, and intake of antibiotics and other medicinal treatments. Of particular importance is the need for “Animal Disease Traceability” (ADT), intended to help prevent the spread of brucellosis and other types of serious contagious infections among herds. Continue reading “Guide to Cow Tags and Other Cattle Identification Methods [Infographic]”

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Tattooing Livestock: Farmyard Facts

Drawing of farm animals with farmer

Farmers today who regularly tattoo their hogs, goats, cattle, horses, and other livestock may not realize it, but they are participants in a practice dating back to the very dawn of human civilization.

Thousands of years ago, almost as soon as our hunter–gatherer ancestors stopped hunting–gathering and instead took to farming and animal husbandry in fixed settlements to supply themselves with reliable sources of food and clothing, they realized they had a new challenge to face: how to keep track of their ever-growing herds of swine, goats, cows, sheep, and other animals in their care.

Flock of sheep in show

Continue reading “Tattooing Livestock: Farmyard Facts”

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