I ended the day just the way I started it by feeding our sheep. Morning and night, each day, Doug and I do the same thing together or separately (it doesn’t matter to us). Right now feeding is a little different with breeding season in full swing. We have various breeding groups each in separate pastures that need to be fed, plus the keeper ewe lambs, ram lambs and our separate show pen of lambs. Everyone either gets Purina Show Show or our custom Co-Op mix (Thank you Valley!). All in all it takes about 30 minutes to feed everyone, check them over, and make sure their water is clean and fresh (I am obsessive about clean water, it’s a problem really!) and mixed with Bluelite (a Techmix electrolyte we use).
After we are finished feeding at night, Doug and I are both guilty of watching the lambs eat. We lean on the gate and watch them eagerly gobble up their feed, not because we want to make sure they eat it all (no problems there!), but because we both feel satisfaction in knowing that every one of our sheep are well taken care of and “tucked in” for the night. Do any of you ever cook for your families and feel overjoyed that everyone is stuffed afterwards? My mom was always that way, and still is now. I guess she instilled that quality in me, because I derive immense satisfaction from knowing that everyone is full and happy (humans, dogs, cats, and livestock!!) It’s a quality I would guess most people that raise livestock possess. And while PETA and other groups can sit there and point out all of the negatives in agriculture/animal production, etc. I still believe there are more good apples than bad in the livestock industry. We all want our animals to be healthy, well fed, and generally comfortable.
These qualities, among others, are what stock show life is all about. It’s not just about winning ribbons, plaques, trophies, etc. It’s about doing what we love and loving what we do, either for a living or for a hobby/side business. Yes, raising sheep (any livestock for that matter) can be time consuming, expensive, heartbreaking, frustrating, and some times just a pain in the butt (think about those negative temperatures we had this winter!), but we do it anyway. Day in and day out we care for our sheep, tending to their every need. Many people have different hobbies/passions but as for Doug and myself, we will continue to raise sheep, and I hope that many years from now we will be leaning on the barn gate watching the show lambs eat just like we do now. Sheep will come and go over the years, feed prices will go up and down (probably just up!!), but it won’t change the way we care for our animals and it certainly won’t take away the immense satisfaction and joy that our stock show life brings us 🙂
Happy Breeding Season to all of our fellow sheep producers, and good luck at all the state and county fairs that are coming up!
See you soon!