Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Another yearling lambs

Another yearling ewe lambed yesterday. #7-087 had a split set of twins. She's a full sister to the ewe that had quads. After he got his legs, one of the lambs ventured far away into another pen. So when I put the ewe and her twins into a jug, she wasn't sure about this second lamb who had "run away." Sometimes she lets him nurse. Sometimes, she butts him.

The young mother is "confused," but slowly coming around. In the meantime, the "runaway" has become good at nursing from behind. I'll keep her in the jug until she accepts both lambs. If necessary, I'll put her in a head stanchion.

Smut-nosed lamb This evening, I merged two groups of ewes with twin lambs and set up the creep area, giving access to both the triplets and twins to creep feed. I start the lambs on cracked corn, soybean meal, and minerals. When the lambs are about a month old, I begin changing the creep ration to whole barley and a 38% protein pellet. I cut back on grain after weaning.

Already, the lambs are attacking the creep with vigor. At this age, they chew on anything they can find. They enjoy their expanded freedom and like to climb onto and into everything. They love to race around the feeders and kick their legs out. It's a good time to be a lamb.

I was figuring that the yearlings would start to lamb after April 1st. That's based on a gestation period of 145 days. Obviously, the first two yearlings had gestation periods of less than 145 days. I put most of the ewe lambs with rams 21 days after the mature ewes were joined with rams. This enables me to manage the ewe lambs/yearlings separately.

Lamb lying on its motherMy dad still has one ewe left to lamb. One of the yearlings I am lambing is also his. Since he only kept one ewe lamb back, we thought it best to keep it with the other yearlings.

The quads continue to do well. Two of the lambs drink little supplemental milk. The other two get milk from both the ewe and me. All of the quads are bouncy and ready to join a larger group of lambs.

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