The chickens are growing. Which means they are eating alot and seems like pooping even more. The poultry netting is on back order, supposed to be back in a few days so I'll be checking it. Need to order some before they're out again quick I'd bet.
The sheep are doing good. Next week I'll be on lamb watch. I'm estimating the 19-25th will be the busy time, based on when I pulled CIDRs for the original group and counting out heat cycles from then on. We'll see how the actual lambing dates fall though. The two March born ram lambs are looking awesome and huge, I need to get another weight on them.
Today we go to pick up the bottle lambs. It's going to be a long day. It was difficult finding a day to go, everything seemed to be against me, I'd get one thing worked out and another would pop up. I'll be much relieved when we're home and I can focus on getting the lambs settled in. I got the two nipple setup from premier1 for bottle lambs. After having to feed all the ones last year I wanted to get it just in case. Now I'm really glad I got it! It wasn't expensive either.
It's forecast to rain or chance of rain for a solid week. I'm hoping it'll clear up at least one day because I need to setup the canvas tent. I'll be just about living in it for lambing. Plus side of lambing now, will be much shorter walk for barn checks.
Well they held off on Sunday. Yesterday I went to the feed mill and by my friends to look at her ewe lambs. Sure enough got home and look out at the pasture and there is a ewe with a little white spot next to her. 228 is a first timer, bred as a ewe lamb. This is the first ewe lamb of the year and it's the smallest live lamb I've ever had! 2.23#! Sire is Chonk, mini cheviot. I had some bulky acrylic yarn and knit up a quick little sweater for her. They are in a temporary pen in the shed. The lamb is sooo tiny I don't trust her to be able to keep up with mom. Plus it's been cold and windy here, I don't want the lamb to get chilled. Thankfully the ram lamb from a few days ago is doing great and the ewe is very attentive. Psshh, heck I was keeping my eye on that 5# lamb and then this one comes along half that! I'm waiting to see how they do before I decide about moving them to the barn, where the bottle lambs are.
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Which brings me to the two new additions. 263 and 269, ewe lambs. They are 3/4 shetland, 1/4 border cheviot cross, same as the five I bought from her last year. These are the last that I'll be buying. I need to buckle down on what I have now and cull hard and keep replacements that do better. I'm hoping for a few ewe lambs to keep on but with one tiny ewe lamb to four ram lambs born I'm guessing it's a ram year! That's fine I hope they'll sell well. The two from March look terrific and I never even got a creep setup for them. They're too big for the creep gate now. And these bunch now I probably won't even set it up, there is so much grass. Knock on wood! Don't want to jinx the weather.
The bucket lambs are doing well. I'm putting more replacer in by the day it seems, their appetite ramping up. They have feed available. I'm going to cut some grass to give them to start nibbling on along with the hay. I know bottle lambs won't do as well grazing but their offspring will. I'm going to be setting aside money for next year, I want to talk to the person I got them from about setting up ahead of time for me to come get their bottle lambs next year. Then they won't have to mess with them and I can get some more commercial stock for a price more manageable for me. Don't know for sure but it could work out for both of us.
I'm waiting on more lambs. The first timers so far have all been suprizes. Some have nice udders and I'd think they'd be the ones to go first but ya never know with these guys! Next week I'm guessing will be the busy time. But there is five ewe lambs I had down for udder development on 4/20, and these two that have lambed were not on that list. Then the proven ewes have udders, Kitty has the least udder but I want to say she just had a smaller udder. I need to make notes of the ewes and their udders so I'll know next year and not be guessing and trying to remember. Getting pics showing their udders might be too much to ask, they don't like to pose!
I'm trying to talk dad into clearing out the barn so I can revamp it for the sheep. Right now I'm using less than a quarter of it for feed storage and it's very inefficiently. The rest is just filled with junk and dad doesn't even go in it. He was using the top corner to hang deer but even that he hasn't kept up. It'll be alot cheaper to rework that barn then buy and build something new. It won't be anything like a commercial barn, haha! But it will be much more manageable than the one sheep shed now. And the small shed has the pig in it and will be taken down this year, plus it's too small for anything but a run-in from the pasture.
I'm making tentative plans for fall. With the late lambing now, any ewe lambs I won't want to breed in October. I'm considering either not breeding the ewe lambs or running the proven ewes breed in October, then the ewe lambs breed in November. If I can get the barn cleared out and worked on then I'll be able to separate groups much easier. I could put the commercial ram with those ewes, then the rest of the ewe lambs would get the mini cheviot and cross rams. Depends on how big the commercial sheep are then.
Mary is quite big. She underestimated the distance it takes her to slow down and I thought she was going to bowl me down the hill with her.