Ewe Gotta Be Kidding Me

You deserve to set boundaries, and you have the strength and self-respect to maintain those boundaries. — Juliet

Here’s What’s Happening At Good Spirits Farm

  • Juliet went to another vet this week for a second opinion. It’s hard to find vets up here who really know sheep — there just are not a lot of folks with sheep here— so getting another opinion seemed wise. A friend who used to work at a horse breeding barn had dealt with contracted tendons in foals and had used oxytetracycline, an antibiotic, with success. One of the side effects of that antibiotic is that it relaxes the tendons, and the idea is that with the tendons relaxed, you can aggressively brace the legs and make real progress.

    Unfortunately, it turns out that oxytetracycline is not recommended for this use anymore. While my friend’s foal did great on it, apparently more foals had significant adverse reactions than did well. Furthermore, there’s very little research on whether it works in sheep at all, so my vet was extremely hesitant to try it. Instead, she recommended more aggressive bracing and reaching out to the University of Tennessee to see if surgery might be an option. She also wanted me to get Juliet walking more, because she’s not wearing down her hooves and she needs to gain strength. So, we’ve begun halter training, which, as you can see, is not Juliet’s favorite thing. She walks on the leash and gets rewarded with her bottle, and hates every moment of it!

  • We have FIVE broody hens. All five are sitting on nests with no eggs—we don't need more chicks! Every night I pick them all up and put them away in the chicken shack, and every morning they run back out to tend their “babies.” Hopefully, they will break out of their broody funks soon.

  • The tree swallow boxes we made last winter are a huge hit! Every one of them is full of mamas and papas (they do really seem to work together) either sitting on eggs or tending to babies! It’s so fun to watch the swallows dipping and zipping around my pastures, eating flies the cows swish away. I’m so pleased with how this experiment has panned out.

Here’s What I Loved This Week

I heard my first whippoorwill the other night. Unfortunately, whippoorwills are in decline, due in part to insect populations taking a nosedive. I’m fairly sure these birds showed up on our farm after a forest about a mile away was clear-cut, so that’s sad, too. But they’re welcome here—we have no plans to cut our trees down—and I hope they stick around.