Sunday, April 23, 2006


Wow. It's been awhile since my last post. The lambs seem to be doing well. Peter is 6 weeks old today and can be weaned anytime from the bottle. I still offer a few of the yearlings' lambs a bottle once a day. The black yearling (#536) gave birth to a solid black ram lamb a week or so ago. I dubbed him Jet. Clover, the Boer x Alpine doe, has still not had her kids. Her daughters are not likely pregnant. One yearling sheep, the young one, doesn't look pregnant either. I think the fat ewe is pregnant, with at least two lambs, maybe three.

Ewe with lambs on pastureI've decided to cut my flock back to somewhere between 25 and 30 ewes. I am getting rid of the goats because they complicate my management. There are times when I need to separate them, which creates additional work. They get into the creep area which infuriates me. It's amazing how they get through the small openings, but they do. It's like Santa Clause going down the chimney.

I'm having a hard time deciding who to get rid of. I started with 40. If I substract the four goats, that leaves 36. One ewe died. That leaves 35. Two ewes need to be culled. That brings me down to 33. Peter's mother, the ewe that prolapsed, and the fat ewe, that hasn't had any lambs, should probably go, though if the fat ewe lambs, I'll probably keep her since she's only 3 and is registered. Otherwise, that would put me at 31. The rest of the ewes have all been productive and problem-free, so the decisions become more difficult.

A smaller flock will make management easier. Though I have a nice hoop house, I really don't have enough space during lambing or enough space to store hay. I also have only 7 acres of pasture. 40 is too many for that resource.

lamb with spotted noseI received cost-share from NRCS and will be having a heavy-use area and concrete pad for manure storage installed at one end of the hoop house. I may do something similar at the other end of the hoop house, but other than that I don't plan to spend any more money on my facilities.

I think my flock will be more productive if I do a better job matching my resources. It will also be more enjoyable. We always want more animals -- it's human nature -- but we'd probablly all do better with less. I'm going to take my own advice.

Finally, we've been getting some rain. It's been raining all weekend. The grass is green and primed to grow. It just needs some moisture. This should do the trick.

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