The lambs are all out and things have been as brisk around here as the cold wind blowing this afternoon. We had a FABULOUS day of people stopping by on Saturday to pop their heads in the barn and visit the lambs. Each year we offer a day to come see the lambs once all are born. We had more visitors this year than any previous year, despite the gray and wet day. I’m going to go ahead and call it a great start to the season.
Caught one of the last births on video....
Our lamb day comes in a close second to the actual lambing season itself. We had 46 lambs in 25 days and really no serious complications. Always grateful for trouble free lambing, of course you take what comes but the hope is always that you have done the work caring for and preparing your ewes with quality feed and clean, dry housing. Chores for sheep are currently very time consuming as we spend lots of time watching everyone and making sure no problems creep up, its also essential that we continue to “shovel the feed” into these girls.
We were asked several times yesterday if some ewes were still pregnant as they were still so big. Huge today is a result of these sheep stuffing themselves on the silage (fermented pasture forage) and filling all the space that held lambs 5 weeks ago… they just gorge and then sit back to chew cud for hours afterwards. Its quite a job to keep up with the demands from these greedy and voracious little udder suckers. Its all fun and cute until feeding time, then you better not get in the way.
The “vibe” changes subtly each and every week as you get further and further from the births. Initially the lambs are only concerned about nursing so when all the ewes are getting fed they would jump and play and run about. As they are now getting into the 3-4-5 week old stage they are more apt to look for places to get in on the feeding action. They have and area just for them, known as the “creep”, which we now keep stocked with silage and alfalfa pellets. I counted 35 lambs chowing down on the forage at feeding time today, already more focused on feed than romping about. And that is essentially our job from now on; to get as much fresh, nutritious feed into these guys as possible and shape their behavior in such a way that they eat vigorously as a response to competition.