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Old 08-22-2009, 06:12 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,208 times
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It was bound to happen, even in this economy and so I am crossing back over to the other side and becoming a flashlight farmer again. I saw a local job earlier in the week that was too good to pass up, with good pay and it was close to home, two things that are very rare where I live.

Its a job as a machinist aboard a tugboat, pushing and shoving freighters and tankers into the deep water cargo port here. There is other barge work and stuff too, but cargo ships and freighters are the most common jobs. I have done marine machinist work in the past, but mostly it was my railroad experience that got me the job since tugboats use locomotive engines as their primary powerplants.

Yesterday I went for a ride-along with them just to see how the job went and it was nothing too hard. Just dangerous as a lot can go wrong when you are talking the tonnage that everything is. Also being on the water is not always safe...perhaps in 70 degree weather in the summer, but winter is another thing altogether. Still I think I will like it. Its just too badI won't get to spend as much time on the dairy farm, or spending time with my sheep. I can still keep the same number of head, and maintain what I got just fine, but I'll have to do my lamb checks by flashlight now and not have nearly the amount of time needed to take care of them.
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:38 PM
 
Location: On a Farm & by the sea
1,101 posts, read 2,534,064 times
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Hey Brokentap. I'm sorry that life is taking you in a different direction than you want to go right now. But I'm thankful that at least the work will keep you (and the SHEEP ) fed. Hopefully you can get back to the flock sooner rather than later. All animals do better when tended faithfully and lovingly. We just bought a farm and I was thinking about maybe getting some sheep or goats. I can't raise livestock to sell for slaughter because I get attached to animals. But I was thinking the sheep could be sheared for wool to be sold and the goats could provide milk for dairy and soap products. How are sheep to tend?
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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Sheep are incredibly easy...far easier then beef cows because of the water thing. That is they get enough moisture from the dew and rain to get by without water in the summer, and then in the winter they eat the snow. I still give my sheep fresh water everyday, but its pretty much the cows that drink that. (they are pastured together). Out on the islands, they let sheep graze all summer because its the only livestock animal that can survive out there without the need for fresh water. (plus there are no predators)

But the wool is not worth a lot...without the Government Payment its 6 cents a pound and with it, a mere 29 cents a pound. It will cost you $10 per head to get them sheared and about $1.80 in wool sales. Its not a profitable thing.

As for getting your homestead, congratulations!
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:33 PM
 
Location: New England
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Good luck BT! Sounds like a lot of work. I went to Maine Maritime Academy and worked as a merchant marine engineer the first few years out of school. Wasn't I glad to go into Bucksport and Searsport on a tanker out of Venezuala after being onboard for 3 months. Nothing like getting home.
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fxtrader View Post
Good luck BT! Sounds like a lot of work. I went to Maine Maritime Academy and worked as a merchant marine engineer the first few years out of school. Wasn't I glad to go into Bucksport and Searsport on a tanker out of Venezuala after being onboard for 3 months. Nothing like getting home.
Maybe I'll see you on your next trip.
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Old 08-29-2009, 05:13 AM
 
11,257 posts, read 44,321,149 times
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$10/head to get them sheared? what, do they use gold-plated shearing heads?

Around here in Wyoming & Colorado, the going rate is $3.50 per ewe ... doesn't matter what size. We've got Southdowns and a neighbor has Suffolks, same price ... we usually get the shearers here to do all of them at once, because they do them all in a day which saves travel time.

The real money in sheep is lamb production for meat ... not in the fiber, unless you're running a specialty fiber breed like BlueFacedLeicesters, which has a market for the handspinners.
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
$10/head to get them sheared? what, do they use gold-plated shearing heads?

Around here in Wyoming & Colorado, the going rate is $3.50 per ewe ... doesn't matter what size.
Well come out here then and get a 300% raise!

There is no way I would shear sheep for $3 bucks a piece!
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:20 AM
 
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If a guy only charges $3 , his time and equipment must be of little value and he is doing it for the exersize.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:27 AM
 
11,257 posts, read 44,321,149 times
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Originally Posted by marmac View Post
If a guy only charges $3 , his time and equipment must be of little value and he is doing it for the exersize.
Really? These folks ... the whole extended family ... have been doing shearing around SE Wyoming/Northern Colorado for years. And if the one group can't get to your schedule, they have a "cousin" or somebody in the extended family who can. And they've got another group of "cousins" who travel the show circuit through several states and come through our area twice a year, where they shear by appointment ... they're out of Kerrville, TX, and shear full time about 7 months of the year. Oh, and it's $3.50 ....

They all use old commercial 1/3 to 1/2 HP shaft driven shearing machines, and show up with a toolbox full of sharpened cutters and combs so they can change them out as needed ... generally in the time it takes to release a finished shorn sheep, remove the fleece to the pile, and bring in the next sheep. All we need to do is give them a sheltered place to work, a plank hung on the wall to support their shearing drive motors, and a steady supply of sheep brought in to shear.

They each average around 10-12 sheep per hour. The fleeces are generally intact, we have very few injuries, and they don't have second cuts in the fleeces. Two of them did a flock of 50 for us in less than 2.5 hours, from driving in to driving out ... and headed over to a close neighbor's place to do another 80 head that day. They work pretty steadily, and I've seen them do a few hundred sheep in a day's work without a break. Pretty good money for a $5-600 investment in tools/equipment ... and they're driving brand new 3/4 ton 4x4 diesel trucks, too.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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I use to do a lot of castrating cattle for people in my younger days.

I can castarate an animal a lot faster than those guys can shear a sheep and I certainly wouldn't do it today for $3 a head. ( that was the rate 30 years ago)

Glad you found someone that low priced.
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