The ewes delivered in September settled in nicely as we moved them about the pasture near our home. The guys spent the fall at the van Leer field. The newly delivered wethers and rams joined the rest of the guys.
As autumn progressed, temperatures became cooler and thin layers of ice formed on the watering tubs overnight. At first all that was needed was to lift the ice off and set it aside, but soon it became time to break out the de-icers and call for another delivery of hay. We now spend less time moving fences and sheep, but more time hauling out hay.
Our date with Martin to artificially inseminate (AI) our ewes was approaching. For AI to work, the ewes’ ovulation cycles must be synchronized to be properly timed relative to when the AI procedure is performed. This is done using two hormones to first suppress and then stimulate ovulation. Two weeks before the procedure we inserted CIDRs for the first phase of the treatment. Timing here is not very critical. However, the second phase (injection of PMSG) should be done 52 hours before the AI procedure. Since we planned to start the AI at 9 AM, this meant starting the injections at 5 AM — a challenge on several fronts including getting out of bed and getting enough light to see what we were doing. But, we got the job done.
The day after the PMSG injections, Martin arrived from Oregon. After an evening of catching up on what we had all been doing since the ewes were delivered and getting a good night’s rest, we started the AI procedure. We had recruited our friends Jil and John to assist. The weather was chilly, but otherwise pleasant.
The AI is laparoscopic surgery. The procedure is explained on Martin’s web site. The bottom line is that after a few minutes, each ewe walked out the side door of our garage with a couple of metal clips holding two small incisions together and ate her breakfast in our back yard.