Shearing, Planting, & Raining

September has been a month of shearing, planting, spraying, & emptying the rain gauge.

Much time has been spent gathering nannies & kids, sorting, & shearing. Before shearing the nannies, we sorted through them. We pulled off older, less productive nannies. Nannies that were showing their age through ‘shelly’ horns, were slow moving, &/or light shearing went into the cull group. All keeper nannies were sheared, treated for chewing lice, then turned back into the pastures. Chewing or biting lice feed on hair & skin debris. Left untreated, chronic dermatitis can occur {constant irritation, rubbing, itching, & biting of the fleece or hair}. The cull nannies were sheared, then put on feed to gain weight before being sold.

Like last summer, we decided to wait a little longer to shear the kids. Kid hair is our most valuable hair, & a longer staple length is ideal. Waiting until the kids’ hair is a little longer, will hopefully prove to be more profitable.

Nanny & billy kids were separated & put on feed. Billy kids are close by so we can keep a closer eye on them. Keeping the billies away from the nannies is crucial. One billy in a pasture full of nannies at the wrong time can create quite a problem. It’s important that all nannies kid at the same time so they can be sheared in February/March & placed in kidding pastures before kidding in April. Nanny kids & the cull nannies are together in a different area on feed.

Last week, the fields were planted in order to provide convenient cool season grazing. We spread Triticale/Elbon Rye, then tilled it under. Tetraploid Ryegrass was then spread on top. The fields are beginning to show signs of green & are coming up nicely. These planted fields will be a very handy place to put young goat kids during the winter & kidding nannies in the spring. Now to keep the Armyworms away!

Armyworms are common after early fall rains. They have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, & adult. Eggs are very small, white, laid in clusters of 50 or more & are covered with grayish, fuzzy scales from the body of the female moth. The eggs are seldom seen in grasses & are usually laid at the base of host plants. Lush plant growth is preferred by the adults for egg laying. Larvae (caterpillars) are very small when they emerge from the egg. Larvae will feed for 2-3 weeks. The larvae have five instars {stages when molting occurs} & sometimes hide in debris on the soil surface in the middle of the day. When full grown, larvae enter the soil & form the pupal stage. Adult moths emerge from pupae. Moths mate & lay eggs, thus starting the life cycle over again.


We have seen Armyworm moths & some worms. We have sprayed pesticide, & are hoping no real damage has been done to any of the fields. We aren’t in the clear yet, as there are Armyworm moths still around. Cool temperatures at night disrupt their life cycle, so we are hoping the cooler temperatures stick around.

We have received about 14″ of rain since September 3rd! We are so thankful for this rainfall, as things were looking rather sad before then. These 14″ came slowly for the most part & were just about perfect in our opinion. We had little to no runoff. The tanks are full, but not spilling over. And the creeks have some running water! This week calls for more chances of showers, which is great for our freshly planted fields. How different things look around the ranch from just a month ago!