Congrats! Never gets old! Like the first eggs and the first tomato each year - it’s a celebration! Ebony and Ivory! Cool pair!I know it is the same thing every year…year in year out…l know that sheep do what sheep are gonna do….BUT IT’S THE FIRST ONES OF THE SEASON! WOO! HOO! Boy! CDT, colostrum feedings, lambing jug, paint mark the family mark….so much to do..oh! Can’t forget to trim the umbilicus and douse in Betadyne! Tomorrow if they are doing well the castration and tail docking…maybe wait to the third day just before letting them out of the jug…..I’m always a first time Papa! Nervous Nelly and quivering with excitement. My wife giggles at this silly 60 year old skinny farmer running around like a head with his chicken cut off but it always seems there is so much to do at once that even when I’m ready it’s a rush!
I ALMOST FORGOT!!!!! NAMES!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Any suggestions? This is the meat flock and not the purebred pen so they don’t have to be regal names…just family names! The bulk of these lambs are presold as meat flock breeders but since I introduced the parents and helped with the weddings and honeymoons…..I should get to name them, right?! My children and grandchildren get the first three ewes so THEY get naming rights for them….a grandpa’s duty to teach wise naming skills and all….
Okay…got all my sillies out…my excitement in turning to tiredness and the doubling of chores…but I had to announce the beginning of our lambing season!
Meet the fam. Marigold, a Leicester Longwool (father: Maelstrom (who lives up to his name) a Blue Faced Leicester. The little girl looks JUST like Dad! (Don’t mind the barn that will get painted this year!) here they have been cajoled into the lambing jug so that bonding and feeding rituals can be established! Momma looks like there could be three more lambs hiding out in her but she is just ‘healthy’ and ready to nurse. She successfully pushed out the placenta and is done lambing!View attachment 90216
here is where they were born…out in the yard behind the barn.
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I had a ponder as I looked back over the pictures above (and the others in my camera)…. Delilah, the little black lamb above is nursing from mom ewe just fine after I brought her back from her excursion into the ram pen and subsequent attempts to nurse on dad… at first, as is clear by the picture…momma lets her nurse eagerly without any particular upset. Once I move them to the bonding jug she suddenly rejects the little ewe…I chalked it up to mom not sniffing her when I set her down and she just jumped in there to nurse. Once settled in the jug she took time to make sure everything was proper and after sniffing the little ewe, must have smelled dad-smell on her (likely a combination of dirty socks, stale cigar smoke and bad housekeeping kind of smell..?). Kidding aside I was surprised at the change of heart. But she is doing great on the bottle and has the BFL ram-dad’s pushy personality which is so unusual in the Leicester Longwool sheep.What about bottle feeding her and leaving her with the ewe? Maybe try it overnight.
She is on the bottle now and doing great! She eagerly knocks off 16oz, 3x per day now and I’m graduating her to a bigger bottle. I’ve put crushed grain meal in a dish and have a bag of hay hanging (some that I fed through a cutter to reduce size) and she is showing interest already but no real attempts at full bites. But at two weeks she has almost tripled in weight and easily twice her birth size. It could be hopeful thinking but I would swear the wool on her legs has already grown slightly! Under good solid nutrition the wool on the Leicester can grow 12-16” per year! We have to have the flock sheared twice per year so that nursing is manageable. Otherwise the wool would be dragging in the dirt and the lambs would never get under the curtain to nurse! As it was I had to trim two of the ewes so far around the sides and back legs to give access to the lambs! But that just tells me they are in great health!Has the ewe begun to accept the ewe lamb or do you have her on a bottle?
Thanks! I get such a kick out of these little lambs. Easy birthing, great mothering and almost instantaneous jumping and running (at least within three hours). It means less time in the jug and fewer bottle babies!Congrats! Never gets old! Like the first eggs and the first tomato each year - it’s a celebration! Ebony and Ivory! Cool pair!
While that sounds like a great way to pass time and very interesting, we decided that we can’t take the time to handle our own wool. After shearing we separate into grades and send 100-200lb lots to various processors. This year we are focusing on just having it cleaned and made into roving. Next year we are hoping that the sale of the roving will fund the whole process of making yarn and even a few end products to resell. With sheep, chickens, rabbits, bees and maintaining a 100+ year old farm and buildings and general farm equipment it was clear that the two of us were not going to become wool experts on top of everything else! Though we do plan to set some of our product aside for later years when we no longer have such responsibilities and we can focus on just having light work and fun with it!What do you do with their wool? Do either you or your wife spin it?