Bye, bye, breeding season! These weeks are flying by so fast it's frightening. On August 27th we moved our six-year-old ram, Da Big Guy (born during the 'D' year) in with 15 ewes, and last Thursday we moved him back out. If all went (and goes) well, adorable bouncing baby lambs should start arriving the end of January.
A ewe cycles every 17 days, so we kept the ram in a pen with them for 37 days: two cycles plus a few extra days just in case. Hopefully, though, lambing season won't last nearly that long. Last year nine ewes had 19 live lambs (plus one newborn that died), which was fantastic, but they spread those lambs out over a month.
The idea is to have all the lambs arrive in as short a time as possible, although that doesn't always seem like a great plan when you're short on sleep and babies are being born every time you turn around. But the alternative—endless days of round the clock barn checks with nothing going on—is even more exhausting.
During the past few years we've significantly reduced our flock in an all around effort to simplify our lives and reduce expenses, so besides Da Big Guy and his 15 babes, we had a separate splinter flock this year of just eight sheep: three 2013 lambs that we'll have butchered next spring, three big old pet wethers (they also make great ram companions), my baby Cary (who I decided not to breed again after her first horrible experience), and nine-year-old Silly, a sweet old retired girl who is Da Big Guy's mother.
When we pulled Da Big Guy out last week, we put Teddy (aka Uncle Teddy) in with him and merged the rest of the flock back together.
We combined this merger with a sheep working session, trimming some hooves, running everyone through a zinc sulfate foot bath to treat foot scald (raw spots between the toes from moisture), and giving everybody a dose of organic garlic juice and apple cider vinegar as a natural wormer and all-around health tonic.
More photos and story below. . .
Teddy and Da Big Guy are now in a nice grassy pen along the driveway and adjacent to the big front field, and yesterday we put the rest of the flock out in the front field with the donkeys. This setup is fine with old Ted, as he has permanently bad feet and is grateful to get a break from traipsing all over the place. Plus, for a ram, Da Big Guy is pretty nice.
And now we start getting ready for lambing season. It'll be here before you know it.
More farm life tidbits? Here.
More sheep? Here.
More Daisy? Here.
Bouncing baby lambs? Here.
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