Monday, February 27, 2012

4-H trip to the farm

Posted by Todd

This weekend we took a road trip with some of the Glenview Clovers to Kline Creek Farm near Wheaton, Illinois. Kline Creek is a lot like Wagner Farm in that they too are a historical site that interprets farming. It is a beautiful place tucked into the Du Page Forest Preserve. The reason for our visit was to attend a session on lambing. Even though most of the kids have done years worth of lamb projects in 4-H few of them have seen a ewe barn with day old babies. Dave, one of the Kline Creek farmers talked about all the procedures and pit falls that come with lambing. Did you know that if you were to handle a newly born lamb that the scent you leave might be enough for the ewe to reject her own young? Dave talk a lot about how they guard against this and the little tricks that they use to over come it. While we didn't get to see any lamb born during our visit there were some that were only a couple of days old. Another surprise to our kids was seeing the lambs with their tails still attached. Shortly after the lamb is born a rubber band is placed on the tail and blood circulation is cut off. After a few weeks the tail falls off with little to no wound. When the kids get their 4-H projects the tails have already fallen off. The reason for docking the tail, for a cleaner lamb. When they used to leave the tails on manure would often get packed under the tail head. Mixing this with the thick wool provided a great home to parasites that cause all kinds of infections and lesions on the lambs. By docking the tail this problem went away.

Despite the cold it was a great trip and got a lot of excitement going for the upcoming lamb project.