Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tagging Lambs

With the yee-hawing and laughing coming from the barn last night, you wouldn't guess we were tagging lambs. Past ear tagging have left me cursing -- and one year, left me lying in the grass, looking in the sky, and proclaiming, "I'm not concussed." That was after a ram lamb jumped while I was leaning over him. He knocked me in the forehead and gave me two black eyes. Ear tagging may be my least favorite lambing job. That seems strange coming from a girl who pierced her own ears. But I'd rather do vaccines, nail trimming, and deworming over that. It's the one of the two sheep jobs I leave to the husband. Thus, I procrastinate about doing it. But, since the night was a touch cooler, we decided to de-worm the lambs. While we were doing that, it made sense to punch the numbered scrapies tags into their ears. So, the husband held the three-to-four-month-old lambs while I squirted dewormer into their mouths. Young lambs are unpredictable. Some jump and fight being constrained. Some accept the dewormer. A few give up and go limp. The first few times this happened, I was sure I'd killed them. Now, I laugh, and shake their heads a little. "Come on baby, it's not so bad," I tell them. After giving the dewormer, it's the husband's turn to punch in the ear tags. The USDA vet showed me a handy way to constrain lambs while tagging. She straddled them, and gave them a squeeze between their legs. They weren't going anywhere. That's what I did last night. I also held my right hand over the lamb's head. No more having a lamb rear up and hit me in the head. Most lambs respond well to this restraint. A few buck and squirm and knock me off balance. I throw my hand in the air, yell yee-haw, and imagine riding the bronc for 10 seconds. And then I remember. The lambs only weigh 50 to 60 pounds, and my feet never leave the ground.


  1. Cracking me up at the picture of you "riding your bronc lamb"! Ride one for me too! Yeaha!

  2. Is this easier or harder than deworming a cat? Despite all of the techniques I have been shown about how to restrain a cat, they always squirt out from under my arm like a water balloon. Something gets dewormed, but it may not be the cat.