Bill’s advice on matters ovine has been close to infallible since I started trying to farm, so when he said he preferred raddle powder to marking harnesses for tracking breeding progress, I took him at his word. He said the one exception was hair sheep, like my katahdins, where a marking harness works better. He advised that the raddle powder needs to be re-applied every few days, but that it was easier than “frigging with a marking harness.” A week into this year’s breeding, my mileage is starting to vary. Angus’s marking harness is staying nicely in place,
and the marks he’s leaving on the ewes are emphatic and clear.
The raddle powder, though, hasn’t been amazing. You can see a bit of it on the North Country Cheviot ram’s chest here, but the mark on the ewe is subtler than I’d prefer.
I decided today to try to re-apply raddle on the three wooly rams today, with mixed success. Preparing the stuff is a bit of a mess,
but turned out to be much easier than the next step. I did manage to catch the North Country ram, but he was not enthusiastic about the project. At that point in the afternoon we had about 3 inches of fresh snow in the pasture, and the ram took me for a bit of a ride before I finally got control of him and applied more raddle paste to his chest. I regret that there’s no video evidence of my sleigh ride.
Bill was right that once I had the ram seated in front of me, applying a handful of red paste to his brisket was very straightforward; but I’m not convinced that a properly sized marking harness needs much frigging during the 17 or 34 days that a ram is in with ewes. I’m only 8 days in to this year’s breeding season, though, so there’s still plenty of time to be wrong…