Jacob sheep and Nubian goats and a whole lot of fence tweaking and adjustments and evaluating are going on. Dreamboat and Daisy Rose came to the farm last week and have been sticking close to each other. We quarantine our animals in a holding pen when they first arrive. This gives them time to adjust to the new sights, sounds, smells and routine and gives us a chance to evaluate, handle, observe, check for health issues and practice biosecurity for the farm. The measures we take aren’t fool proof, but so far they’ve helped us contain a lot of issues before releasing animals into the greater groups. We administer meds as needed rather than routinely and strive to raise animals with strong, healthy genetics and resistance to diseases and parasites. Keeping new animals quarantined for a while also helps us give an initial health evaluation so that we can recognize health improvements or declines and take notes of their original condition upon arrival. Everyone’s fields, pastures, forests, woods and yards are different. There isn’t a one size fits all. What worked well on someone else’s land might be a recipe for death on another. A mineral deficiency down the road might make an animal sick if they are overdosed when they move because the soil samples have different ratios, etc and the free choice loose mineral they’re given didn’t change. Also, an animal with a major parasite load or disease that isn’t treated can quickly contaminate your flock and land and you’ll have a bigger problem if you don’t intervene immediately… you may even be running all over the countryside trying to catch your brand new completely rogue animal if they’re not introduced slowly to their new surroundings… that is definitely what happened last week when Daisy Rose headed straight to California as soon as she hit the ground. It also happened 5 years ago when we brought our first blackbelly lambs home, but let’s pretend like it didn’t and that we learned our lesson the first time…
Anyway, that was a big and brief answer to a question that you didn’t ask, but it’s good information and if we can help anyone get a jump start on the lessons we’ve learned over the years then we want to do just that. After all, the Master’s of Agricultural Arts didn’t come from the books. It came from the blood, sweat and tears of this good, hard work. It came from the toil and turmoil and tests that we passed and failed with some very serious repercussions over the years. We are still learning. The best teachers always are.