We’ve had a busy week of visitors at Morning Star Meadows!
Saturday we enjoyed the company of Matilda, Esther and Coffee’s (our new moorit ram lamb) soon-to-be new “person”! She and her sister drove well over 2 hours from western MA to visit and share in some of the farm chores here on Saturday. They got to hug some lambs and do a flock check in sweltering heat! We were grateful for their company and assistance! I know that these three sheep are going to a wonderful new home in a few short weeks, where their new person will be breeding Icelandics and milking ewes for homemade cheeses!
Yesterday we had another MA visitor from high up in the Berkshires. He is part of an agricultural community there and will be bringing home 2 or 3 of our Icelandics to raise for wool and milk/cheese to support their community in August.
I’m so excited for both of these farms, and for the sheep who get to go to a cooler climate this summer! Nothing like having an extended vacation in the Berkshires, eh?!
We then spent the afternoon with a Agricultural Science student collecting data from our sheep for a parasite control program study that is funded under a grant through Sustainable Research and Education through the USDA.
We have been practicing an integrated parasite management program here at the farm in an attempt to reduce dewormer resistance. We are, basically, farming our internal parasites in our sheep!
Instead of just worming all of the animals every 6-8 weeks, we are checking each animal every week for evidence of anemia through the FAMACHA system, where we compare the color of their conjunctiva to colors on a laminated card to objectively rate each animal to different levels of anemia. Only anemic animals need be wormed. Each time an animal is wormed, some worms that are resistant to the anthelmintic will be eliminated by the animal onto the pasture. We want to provide as few of these resistant worms as possible on the pasture to breed with the susceptible worms, therefore reducing drug resistance.
So yesterday the student collected fecal samples to be analyzed at the University of Rhode Island, weighed the animals and we checked each one for anemia and body condition. We happiy received a clean score with FAMACHA checking, and learned the present weight of all of our animals for future reference when dosing with anthelmintic, as it is very important not to underdose with dewormer, as this also creates for resistant worms.
Today we shifted gears a bit and prepared all of our entries into the Arts and Crafts/herbs/flowers/vegetable contests at the North Stonington Agricultural Fair. Here’s a sampling:
Herbed Artisan Bread
Snickerdoodles for the Junior Baking Contest
To-die-for chocolate chips for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest
5 lettuce leaves
Best dozen of eggs
Sea Shell collection
Yarn, knitted items, sewn items
and last but not least…carrots!
We were so surprised when we unearthed these root vegetables! I guess I know what we’ll soon be harvesting and storing away!!
See you at the fair!