Farm Days

Farm Club members have spent time here during lambing and helped with cleaning, lamb ID, etc. And of course there is always lamb cuddling.IMG_5547                  Farm Club is a great way to learn about raising sheep before you invest in sheep or if you won’t ever have the lifestyle that lets you own a sheep.

IMG_5548             Zorra had plenty of cuddling while she was still in the lambing area with her mom. Lisa is a lamb cuddling Pro.IMG_5550                 This is pet sheep Jade’s lamb (and me).

IMG_5670                                                   This is her again being held by Peggy. We’d really like her to be friendly too.

IMG_5672               This is Zorra again with Sumi.

Betsy and lamb-3                                                   As the lambs get a little older we have other Farm Days. This was Betsy’s first day on the farm and she jumpred right in holding lambs as we ear tagged and castrated. 18042                         I don’t castrate many because it’s hard to know how they will grow out and which might be a great flock sire for someone. Some are easy though–too much or too little color to fit within the 15-85% breed standard. This one’s horns are already touching at the base under that hair. As the horns grow they will fuse and not grow well separately.Marina and lamb-3                                          Marina and Maggie (no photo) helped catch lambs too and Mary handled the clipboard. The lambs were all tagged with their white ID tags right after they were born but we put added a colored tag on Farm Day. I like to use a second tag for back-up ID if the first one falls out and also to color code the sire. It’s interesting to keep track of that and it also helps to find a lamb when you’re looking for one among 75. You can narrow it down some if you have a color to look for.DSC_9172                This year Cayenne’s lambs got orange tags. Pink tags go in all the lambs that have been castrated.

DSC_9183                         Green means these are Buster’s lambs.DSC_9189                          Blue was for Catalyst.

18013            Peyton’s lambs are obvious so don’t need an extra tag.

Orchardgrass-3-2             After we tagged all the lambs Marina and Betsy stayed to help me set up the pasture for the sheep. I had put the sheep out for a few days but hadn’t cleaned and moved the water trough.

Orchardgrass-2-2               We walked around the pasture and took stock of things. I always point out the issue that I have with the dallisgrass that is out of control. That’s what all that dry grass is. I’d much rather see green grass growing. The whole pasture was looking somewhat dismal from a growth standpoint. At this point we had just had March rain after two very dry and cold months. I wasn’t seeing much growth–at least not enough to feed 55 ewes and 75 lambs. unknown grass-2               We spotted this grass that I don’t recognize.unknown grass-11                     I took photos to send to a friend of Marina’s who she think might recognize it.

Thanks Farm Club!

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People at the Farm and Tiny Lambs

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.IMG_5679               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.Zinnia lambing-14                 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.

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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.

IMG_5688                    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.

Zinnia lambing-19              We kept checking back and eventually the second lamb was on it’s feet. This photo was taken later in the day.IMG_5694                 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.

IMG_5708           Here is the tiny lamb from the morning.

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IMG_5706              This was getting close to the end of lambing.18075-18074             Here are those two tiny lambs 12 days later and here is their listing on the website.

 

LAMBS!

Lambing started the day after I got back from Texas. I’m sure that Dan was grateful I was back. There was one lamb on the 22nd, nothing the next day, and since then they’ve been popping out right and left. I haven’t had time to do anything with photos until now (although I should probably be sleeping).

Shadow Mountain Shelby was the fourth ewe to lamb. She is a lilac (Jacob terminology for markings that are not black but are gray/brown), ewe with beautiful blue eyes. I got to the barn and found her with a lamb.

Shelby lambing-1                    Lamb #1. These aren’t usually a pretty side when just born. Slime, dirt, blood. Shelby lambing-4                Jacob ewes are usually very good mothers and the lambs are vigorous. Shelby was cleaning up her baby…Shelby lambing-7             …even while pawing the ground and having contractions for the second.Shelby lambing-12                    I got them inside the barn and the lamb got to its feet and started looking for milk.Shelby lambing-13                       Lamb #2.

Shelby lambing-15                 The first lamb is nursing while Shelby cleans the second.Shelby lambing-18                   I love the look of this one. These are both lilac ewe lambs sired by Catalyst.18006           Here they are three days later.18007                  These lambs are listed on my website lamb page. I’ll be updating the listings with photos as I get time.

 

Breeding Season Starts

October 1 – breeding season starts. Count 148 days more or less and there will be lambs. I know where I’ll be February 26. Farm Club came to help sort sheep.

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There were four breeding groups to sort–ewes that would go to three Jacob rams and Peyton, the BFL. There is also a non-breeding group. I juggled which ewe lambs to not breed–I want to have some to show next spring (maybe take to MSWF to sell?) and to show at State Fair. I debated which ewes to put with Peyton. Obviously those won’t produce purebred Jacob lambs, but the crossbred lambs grow fast and are valuable for market lambs. IMG_2484

We got the rams out and trimmed their feet.

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We got the marking harnesses ready. I use the same color in all of the harnesses. The breeding groups are all in separate places so I’m not trying to sort which ram bred which ewes. If they were all together I’d have fighting rams and still wouldn’t know the sires because there would be multiple breedings. I will change the color in about two weeks. Then I’ll know that all the blue marks are from the first two weeks of breeding and if the ewes are marked with the next color they were bred in the next two weeks.17008 head

This is ewe lamb, Hollyhock. The dirty face and dirty wool is a result of the tall dallisgrass that is now sticky. As a result the sheep are covered with dirt and with dallisgrass seeds.

17059 left horn

I this opportunity to take close-up photos of the ewe lambs that I need to register.

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Here is the main event. Rams working working overtime with their mouths open and tongues out. Uh, Peyton, that’s a wether.

Catalyst

The ewes that are in heat will hang around the ram. Sheena and Shelby were the two who were interested in Catalyst. If Catalyst showed interest in one the other started beating him up.

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This gives new meaning to Fall Colors.

Lambs Grow Up

I caught the ewe lambs yesterday to figure out which were still for sale. I’m planning to keep several this year and it’s always tempting to keep too many. I sold several adults this year and a couple have died so I can keep at least 6 or 8 as replacements.lambs to keep

These lambs are all on my list to keep. There are a few close-ups below.

17055 head

Meridian Jennie (bide a wee Buster x Meridian Jane). She won Reserve Champion Ewe at Black Sheep Gathering last month.

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Here is what she looked like in April.

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I just decided yesterday that I’d keep this one. She’s not named yet (Starthist Dragon x Meridian Alice).

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Here is a picture from May. Notice how the wool in front of her horns is shedding out. Adult Jacob sheep are not supposed to have woolly foreheads but the lambs are often born with wool that will shed.

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This is Jasmine (Starthist Dragon x Meridian Jazz).

17088 Jasmine

The wool on her forehead is also shedding.

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Here is what she looked like in April.

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Take a look at this nice looking ram lamb in late March. Look below to see why I don’t want to make deals for rams at a young age.

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This ram can not be registered.

Other lamb photos are on the website although I haven’t updated the listings this month. There are several ram lambs to remove. Ram lambs. Ewe lambs.

More Lambs

I took these photos before it started raining again.

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A cute blue-eyed lilac lamb. This is on the “keep” list.  Meridian Catalyst x Shadow Mountain Shelby.

1056 Hot Lips and lambs

Meridian Hot Lips with triplets also sired by Catalyst.

13013 Sophia and lambs_

Meridian Sophia with BFL-x triplets.

Sonata

Meridian Sonata with triplets sired by bide a wee Buster.

Ears and lambs

Ears and her crossbred lambs.

14007 Estelle

Meridian Estelle also with crossbred lambs.

15024 Ruth

Meridian Ruth. Lambs sired by Catalyst.

And while we’re at it let’s throw in another springtime photo.

Wisteria-10

The wisteria has started to bloom.