Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Check It Out

Checking each other out (1) - FarmgirlFare.com

Sheep breeding season started on September this year and will last for 37 days. This is a month earlier than we started last year, which was earlier than we started the year before. It means, of course, that lambing season will also begin a lot earlier than usual, in (yikes) late January. It's an experiment.

We currently have two rams, Da Big Guy (born in the 'D' name year) and The Kid (aka Hey Kid; yep, that's his 'H' name). For 328 days a year these two guys live together, separate from the rest of the flock, and get along just fine. When it's cold they even snuggle. Add in some girls to fight over, though, and things would get really ugly. So when we're breeding, the rams are each locked up with their own ewes, and the two mini flocks are kept apart from each other, never even sharing a fence.

This set up keeps the peace and makes everybody happy. But it can't hurt to have a little look every once in a while, can it? After all, you know what they say—the sheep are always cuter on the other side of the fence.

More photos below. . .


Checking each other out (3) - FarmgirlFare.com

Checking each other out (4) - FarmgirlFare.com

More sheep? Here.
Lots of cute little lambs? Here.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where, okay, in the last two photos they're actually checking out the incoming treat bucket.

5 comments:

  1. Are you doing this experiment because of the changing weather patterns and it being warmer earlier in the year? Love following your Farmgirl blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat,
      Actually we're doing it for financial reasons. Lamb prices at the sale barn usually drop after Easter, but our lambs are never big enough to sell by then.

      We never used to worry about it because we didn't sell lambs in early spring, but this year we had a grand new plan, and even though we started lambing in late February (our earliest ever), the prices still dropped by 40% from the April livestock sale to the one in May where we sold our sheep. That hurt. A lot.

      Most sheep farmers we know around here start lambing much earlier than we do, so we're hoping it will work out okay! :)

      Delete
  2. Oops! I went to type some replies here and realized that while moderating comments this morning, I accidentally deleted a couple of them into oblivion. Here's what they said:

    From FinnyKnits:
    So you'll be lambing in the...snow? Yikes. Time to load up the lambing "condo" with lots of blankets. And maybe some bourbon. Just saying.

    From Elaine:
    I will be interested in hearing how you like January lambs. Been there, done that, no more. It was one of the coldest Januarys on record. In all honesty the sheep/lambs did fine. I just don't like cold weather. I much prefer spring lambs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Finny,
      Yeah, we'll definitely be moving the portable shepherd's hut (aka the guest cottage) down to the sheep barn again for lambing season. It worked out great last year - even without bourbon. Good idea though! ;)

      Hi Elaine,
      I hear you. I never thought I would be lambing in January, but I keep telling myself it will only be the tail end of January. :)

      Our winters are always unpredictable, and we often get most of our snow and really bad weather in February or even March, so who knows. I've always hated hearing stories of otherwise healthy newborn lambs freezing to death in the night, but there really is no way to get big lambs in time for the early spring market if you don't start lambing in January. (We're not into feeding our lambs 5 pounds of grain a day to make them gain really fast.)

      For several reasons, we cut way back this year and are only breeding 11 ewes, so we figured it would be a good time to try the early lambing. With that few pregnant ewes, we can at least lock them in the barn each night, so nobody will be having babies out in the freezing barnyard.

      Hooves crossed it will all go well! :)

      Delete
  3. Okay, there is some weird stuff going on with the comments. Another one just evaporated on its own. Anyway, this is what Candy C. said:

    Love the solid panel gates, I haven't seen that kind before. Do sheep rams get stinky like goat bucks?

    Hey Candy,
    Those solid panels are actually part of the sheep handling equipment we invested in a few years ago in an attempt to organize/streamline our sheep operation. You can see more of how the set up works here.

    In this case, the panels are doing double duty as a temporary fence, keeping The Kid and his girls locked in part of the driveway next to the barn. The grass is finally starting to come back, but there still isn't much, and with three separate flocks right now because of breeding, we're putting sheep in every green spot we can - including in the road!

    As for the rams, they do have a musky smell that gets stronger during breeding, but it's nothing compared to goats. I was at a sheep and goat sale once and was milling around outside while people were unloading their trailers, and ended up chatting with a guy who was selling his entire goat herd. I asked him why and he said, "Because they stink!" :)

    ReplyDelete

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