Monday, September 1, 2008

Sheep Poop!

Alright, you might not think that examining sheep poop would be the most pleasant way to spend an afternoon. But if you're a farmer it might be a valuable way.

Jim and I just spent an afternoon in just that way. We attended a FAMACHA workshop. For those who aren't "in the know" that's a method of determining the worm count on individual sheep (this method works for goats as well) so that you worm only those that need it rather than the whole flock. That way the worms don't become resistant to the de-worming medications.

First we listened to the lecture and saw some slides. Then we went out to examine the eyelids of some sheep to check for anemia. Then we gathered poop or actually scooped it out of a sheep if she wasn't accommodating enough to actually poop in front of us so we could gather it off the ground. One gal in our group was an expert "sheep dog" and showed us a new way to catch sheep quickly and easily. Then we returned to the barn where we measured the poop, mixed it with a solution, mashed it through a strainer several times to further mix it into the solution, put it in a slide and viewed it under a microscope. Then we learned the formula for determining the worm count.

The weather was absolutely perfect for poop gathering. Sunny, breezy, cool with just a hint of autumn hanging in the air. Others might have been enjoying the day by hiking, kayaking, picnicking, biking, or other such sports. We were definitely taking better advantage of our time and learning a new sport as well - that of poop gathering. Wow, can anyone imagine a more exciting way to spend the afternoon?! Perhaps we'll perfect the sport and attract others into our exclusive circle. I can envision it now - the formation of the Poop Gatherers of New England. And who knows - perhaps one day it will be so popular as to become an Olympic event!

PS - DH says he doesn't like PGNE but he thinks it gives a new meaning to PGA - Poop Gatherers of America!

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