After much pre-preparation, November 17th finally arrived.

Many thanks to local Horned Dorset breeder, Peter Janicki, who let us borrow the Tilting Sheep Cradle shown in the "down
position at left.

The cradle is shown in the "UP" position - sheepless.
Paperwork plays a huge part of pre-preparation. After the AI, the ewes should be stressed as little as possible. This means that we had to figure out the post-AI breeding groups prior to AI. Afterwards, each ewe went directly into her breeding group pasture already supplied with food and water. I shuffled breeding groups multiple times before finally settling on the "final" groups.

Hormone injections are timed so that the AI is within a small window of time. Each dosage is calculated for breed and age of ewe, and time of injection is recorded, as is the AI time.

At left is a portion of the EverRanch spreadsheet showing post AI breeding group, AI group, time to start the hormone injection for each of the 3 groups, actual time of injection, sheep name and dose amount, hormone level in the injection, actual AI time, breed of ram, name of ram... whew!

Also at left is a very important part of the AI process - the SEMEN STRAWS!! These are shown empty. They are kept in liquid nitrogen until just before use.. These 15 straws represent well over a $1500 investment in semen alone - Yikes!

In the previous 2 years, we used bungee cords to lash the sheep to the AI cradle. This year I devised a set of velcro straps to hopefully improve on the lashing system. The straps are shown at left. The idea was great, the effectiveness could have been better. The velcro cuffs themselves didn't slip when attached tight. The buckle straps slipped when the sheep kicked a lot, and the stitching failed on two of the joints between cuffs and straps. While the straps stayed intact, it was much easier to just hold onto the end of the strap than it was to hold sheep legs while the bungees stretched. :-\

Here's my "map" of the breeding groups and the final list. I got a lot of kidding from the "group" about my list and map - but golly-gee whiz - it worked! We knew where each ewe went, and there they are, undisturbed and under low stress.


Finally! Here we are at the start of the operation. This is Bunny getting strapped in prior to having her belly shaved, disinfected and injected with local anesthetic.

The following photos are in order of the process and the sheep are not necessarily in order. Several of the individuals are featured in the sequence.

Bunny is definately NOT sure of what is happening!
This is Finnsheep, Brain, after being clipped and in the middle of being scrubbed.
Hind leg strapped in!
Sheep bondage!

Starting the process with the manipulator in place. Martin is getting the laparoscope ready.

The model is Finnsheep, Zilla. We called her Godzilla a couple times during the afternoon.

The laparoscope is in place.

'Zilla is showing off her "sleek" form from toetip to nose, and the full extent of her bondage.

Dave and Joanne are making sure the hind legs don't slip, Martin is viewing through the laparoscope and looking for the all-important uterine horns.
Dave multitasking. Holding sheep leg, holding laparoscope while Martin gets the semen straw, and smiling for the camera!
The straw takes the place of the manipulator, plunger at the ready.
In case it's hard to see, here is the plunger highlighted. One half of the straw is injected into each horn.
During the afternoon, we went through a lot of supplies, including syringes and needles! Sheep got injections of lidocaine, banamine, and penicillin.

Aftermath in the Sheepie Hilton.

This morning the AI ewes were doing a lot of lazing around and cud chewing. The ewe standing is Bessie - not one of the AI girls.

These ewes will be divided among Bubba, Buddy and Butch in a week.

All these girls were AI'd and are in Kibbles cleanup group. They got the "upper" pasture with llama Morata.

So, now we wait patiently, or impatiently, until next spring. For 40 days and 40 nights, the AI'd ewes get to relax.
Cleanup rams go in next weekend, with only some minor moving of the sheep in the Hilton.

Contact us if you are interested in reserving a lamb for the table or to start your own flock of Scottish Blackface, Shetland or Gotland Sheep, or for any of our other products.

Breeding Stock - contact us for more information or see the Sale Page

For additional information contact EverRanch by e-mail.
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