Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sunday Dose of Cute: All You Can Eat Mother's Day Buffet!

All You Can Eat Mother's Day Buffet 1

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Bring the Kids!

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In honor of Mother's Day, all 17 mamas and their 30 lambs—who have been living for the past several months on homegrown organic hay and natural grain spiked with molasses—were released this morning onto fresh spring grass for a non-stop munch fest. (The rest of the flock, except for the rams, has been pasture grazing since mid-March.)

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Everyone was thrilled.

Urp.

We call it Sheep Freedom Day:

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the heads to the ground foodie farm blog where today the grass really was greener on the other side of the fence—and there's even a little bit left.

11 comments:

  1. could use some of that sweet grass for my animals - but a good rain this week will perk our pastures back up. So quite an assortment of rear ends there - no tail docking? Some tail docking? or do the new sheep not get messy bums?

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  2. As usual, the photos are fantastic and the animals are too cute.

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  3. Love the ones of Daisy with the lambs just grazing around her -- "excuse me, Daisy. Urp. Just going to eat around you here. Urp." Adorable!

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  4. Nothing so happy as grazing animals that get to graze after a winter of hay-eating.

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  5. Love your Mom & Babies photos ...

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  6. Oh wow, I want to lay in the grass (so green it makes my eyes ache) with the dogs and the lambs and look up at the clouds floating by. But I spent MY Mother's Day doing ironing and laundry. Sigh.

    I was wondering about the tails, too. I see at least one of the mamas with a long tail. And once again, I LOVE the spots!

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  7. Adorable lambs! Our calves are pretty cute too. Love spring.

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  8. Does the large ewe in the middle have a long tail?

    I wish we had pasture grass like that.

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  9. Hi Everybody,
    Thanks for all your comments!


    Jan,
    Actually, you don't want to lay in that grass - it's full of ticks. And being covered with them ranks right up there with doing ironing and laundry on Mother's Day. ;)

    As for all your questions about the tails. . .

    We usually dock all the lamb tails, but we have some Katahdin hair sheep in the flock now, and because they're not all woolly, they don't need their tails docked. You'll find lots of photos of our Katahdins (which we introduced to help improve internal parasites since the breed is naturally resistant) here.

    Here's a little bit about docking tails, taken from the Sheep 201: A Beginner's Guide to Raising Sheep website:

    Docking is when the tail is shortened. Docking improves the health and welfare of sheep and lambs. It prevents fecal matter from accumulating on the tail and hindquarters of the animal. Research has shown that tail docking greatly reduces fly strike (wool maggots) [fly strike is really disgusting and awful],while having no ill effect on lamb mortality or production. Docking facilitates shearing. Not many professional sheep shearers want to shear sheep with long tails. Docking makes it easier to observe the ewe's udder and detect potential problems.

    Some markets (lamb buyers) discriminate against tailed lambs, since having a tail lowers the dressing percent (yield) of the lamb and removal of the tail during processing requires extra labor.

    Not all sheep require tail docking. Because hair sheep lambs do not have long, woolly tails, it is usually not necessary to shorten their tails. Lambs from the Northern European short-tail breeds also do not require docking. Fat-tailed sheep are usually not docked. Some producers of wooled lambs do not dock their lambs or they only dock the ewe lambs.


    Like I said, we do dock our wool sheep tails when the lambs are very young, but compared to most (and especially to show sheep), we leave the tails quite long. Some people literally dock the entire tail, which can lead to birthing problems for the ewe - and to me, just looks strange.

    We use the banding method to dock tails and castrate males. From Sheep 201:

    The easiest and most common method of tail docking is to apply a rubber ring (or band) to the tail using an elastrator tool. Banding is a bloodless method of tail docking. The band cuts off the blood supply to the tail, causing the tail to fall off in 7 to 10 days. Some producers cut the tail off before it falls off to prevent potential problems.

    Banding causes some pain to the lamb, but the pain is short-lived.


    You can see the banded lambs' tails in this photo.

    And that's today's sheep lesson! : )

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  10. Thanks for nice grassing photos.

    Lucky you!

    Here in Denmark this month of may is so cold, that the grass is almost no-growing.

    Have to keep on moving the cattle from one field to another to keep them grassing.

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  11. Love it! And I am jealous of your pasture~

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