October is one of the busiest months of the year at the ranch.
Now that all the sheep are out of the high elevation summer range, it’s time to get them ready to start another year. This is the time when we count all the sheep to make sure none were left behind in the mountains and to see how many were lost to predators. Then we wean the lambs from their mothers as they will be going into different management groups for the winter.
The ewes will be “eye and tagged” which is where we shear the wool off their face and around their tails. This helps them breed better and prevents them from getting “wool blind” in the winter snow storms. The ewes are then sent out to graze the dry native foothills in the Sweetwater Basin. The lambs are counted and mixed in large bands of 2000 to be moved to high quality pastures to ensure their wool stays strong and they continue to gain weight. One band of lambs is already down in the Dillon valley grazing alfalfa and volunteer wheat on the farm.
The Kangal and Akbash guard dogs are working overtime this time of the year because the coyotes are abundant and hungry for the vulnerable newly weaned lambs. All the sheep have long wool coats now as the temperatures start to dip below freezing and winter is just around the corner.