Thursday, August 14, 2014

Marking Crayon Test

We've been thinking about breeding season since lambing season. In fact, during lambing season we were thinking about breeding season. We marked twin and triplet born ewe lambs (they're ear notched when we ear tag) and marked (with SI-RO-MARK or Sprayline) which ram lambs to keep intact.

Our breeding seasons have been a little different this year. We bred a small experimental group of ewes earlier this summer. They're due in a few weeks. Our main breeding season is just around the corner.

We're planning to breed 475 ewes this season. Rams went in May 1st with a select group of hair cross ewes. The remaining ewes will be bred in groups with plans to have breeding finished by Mid October (we're shooting to have our last lambing day on March 15th. To keep track of who has been bred and who hasn't we're using marking harnesses and raddle marker. Not exactly sure which as the farm guys haven't put the rams in with the ewes.

On a side note, we been testing the visibility of our crayons over a 24 day period. Why 24 days? We took a ewe's estrus cycle (17 days) and added in 1 week (7 days).

Day 1 of the crayon test. Colors are rich and vibrant. 
Yellow and blue were the least readable a week after marking (by hand, not by a ram). Test was at Premier in SE Iowa in July. Purple, green, red and orange were the most readable colors. 
Purple and red were the most readable. Green, blue and orange less so. Yellow the least (but still readable).

Purple and red were the most readable. Green, blue and orange less so. Yellow the least. 
Crayons were applied on an 85°+ day. Hot crayons (except for purple) were applied to the ewes by hand. A mild purple crayon was used (temp. range 65°-85°). Why a mild purple? The original purple crayon was very dark (almost black). We received a sample (note: one) of a new mild purple to see if we wanted to switch. As you can see the purple is bright (not black) and applied easily (as cold/warm crayons will do on a hot day).