Meet the Sheep is our spring event when we invite the public to see sheep and watch fiber activities. I haven’t kept track of how long we have been doing this but I have pictures from 2009 and I think we’ve been at it longer than that. Meet the Sheep comes off smoothly now with Farm Club members handling all of the outside activities. I spend most of the time in the shop but I get out occasionally to take some photos.
Farm Cub members are invited to be vendors. This is Jackie with Sheep to Shop. These are some of her handspun, handknit pillows. Colleen has Fiber Confections. She usually sells at the Davis Farmers’ Market. Gynna makes socks. Here are some of her socks knit from my Anderson Ranch yarn and Timm/Jacob yarn. Joy sells dye plants… …ready to use for dyeing and ready to grow. Her butterfly is made from a Zoom Loom square.
Farm Club members also demonstrated fiber activities. Alison and Doris were processing fiber, Laura was weaving on the inkle loom, and Lisa wove a tapestry on the Lilli loom.
Of course, it’s all about the animals, especially the lambs. Betsy, Mary, Sue, and Marina helped children pet lambs. My little goats were an added attraction this year since Julie, who usually brings goats and bunnies, couldn’t be here. This fence helped keep the kids in one place. Moms could relax temporarily. I saved the small field behind the shop so that the sheep would be enticed to come to fresh pasture for the weekend.
An new activity was Running Through Puddles. This activity is not offered every year, but the children enjoyed it this time.
I’ve had tame sheep before, but not like Jade. I always bring her out when we have field trips and let her loose with the kids.
She stands still when kids are all around as long as she is being petted. She lets people touch her horns when I tell them to feel how the horns are warm at the base and cool at the top.
Now I find out that she likes watching videos with friends. “Don’t you like watching videos with friends?”
“Yes Jade, you have nice white teeth.”
“You too, Lisa”
Every year I offer a Sheep Handling and Management class that occurs sometime during lambing season. This year the timing was lucky! We had twins born in the morning before the class started and a ewe started lambing during class. During the discussion about other aspects of raising sheep we kept an eye on Zinnia, the ewe who was lambing. When she got more serious we watched. One thing of note was the presence of two bags, each a different color. A lot of time I just see membranes that have broken so I wouldn’t know if it were one or two, but it seemed unusual to see two distinct bags. I saw a bit of a small foot emerging but the whole thing seemed to be taking awhile so I thought I’d check. There was one foot and a head. Not very far back was another head. Both lambs were coming at the same time, and it was obvious from the two sacs that one had meconium staining, a sign of fetal distress. I pushed the second lamb back and was able to pull the first lamb with just the head and one foot. I could tell that it was very small. Usually it takes a little while for the second to come, but it was right there too. Weighing these later, they were 4.8 and 4.2 pounds.
Both lambs were alive. The second lamb acted unusual. Most lambs start trying to get up within minutes of birth but there is a normal sequence that I have a hard time describing. It’s just something that I’ve seen many times. (If you go to my YouTube channel and look at lambing videos you’ll see this.) The second lamb was noisy, baaing constantly and sort of scrabbling with it’s feet. It seemed frantic as opposed to a more methodical attempt to stand.
You can’t rush a lamb to be ready to nurse. I didn’t know if something was wrong with this one, but I knew that, even if it was normal, it needed a little more time. We went outside and looked at the fences and the pasture. When we came back in the first lamb was doing fine. The second still wasn’t able to stand but I could hold it up and get it to nurse.
We kept checking back and eventually the second lamb was on it’s feet. This photo was taken later in the day. Later that afternoon a friend of mine came with another friend to take photos of the lambs. That’s Raquel with triplet ram lambs.
The three of us spent time in the pasture photographing lambs before we came in to go out to dinner.
Here is the tiny lamb from the morning.
This was getting close to the end of lambing. Here are those two tiny lambs 12 days later and here is their listing on the website.
Lambing seems like it was a long time ago now, but this was only 2-1/2 weeks ago.
Jade is the biggest pet sheep here. She had a ewe and a ram lamb.
At that point I had overflow pens set up in the alley of the barn.
Lambing gets exhausting and you have to get your sleep when you can. I think I slept some here and then was woken up.
It looks as though Sunny is getting sleepy here. But I’m awake.
While we’re thinking about getting cozy on the couch… My son works as an EMT and he is often gone at night. The “puppies”, who live next door, get invited in our house if they are barking too much. They have no qualms about cuddling on the couch, something our dogs don’t get to do. Back to Jade. Here she is with one of her lambs at 2-1/2 weeks old.