Monday, May 19, 2008

Scarlet and George

To my surprise, Scarlet, the last yearling had a lamb. Friday night, I happened to glimpse her from behind. Her bag had enlarged since the last time I saw it and decided she might not be pregnant. Plus, she was acting goofy. I consider goofy to be one of the signs of impending parturition, especially amongst yearlings, who aren't quite sure what is happening to their bodies.

I predicted Scarlet was going to lamb very soon, so I checked on her about 11 p.m. I used my spot light to locate her. I scared the other sheep half to death with the spot light. Nothing had happened with Scarlet at this point. When I went out Saturday morning, Scarlet was off by herself , under some trees, with her new baby, a healthy good-sized ram lamb. She was/is a very attentive mother, like most Katahdin yearlings.

Scarlet and her new lambNot long after, I saw a large predatory bird hanging around, too close to the new family to suit me. So I moved McComb, my livestock guardian into the yearling pasture. I told him to watch the new lamb. He did, never straying far from his charges.

Scarlet is in a pasture with ten yearling ewes and their lambs. I have one more yearling, but she is with the mature ewes. She lambed first and had a single lamb, so I thought it was okay to put her with the mature ewes. The yearlings have performed well and will be a real boost to future flock productivity. I'm going to try to limit my replacements to four this year.

My niece named Scarlet last year when Scarlet was a young lamb. I told my niece that the naming theme was western characters. I had Butch, Sundance, Annie (Oakley), and Maverick. I guess Samantha thought Gone with the Wind was a western movie so she chose to name the friendly little ewe lamb Scarlet. I guess the ram lamb's name should be Rhett. Scarlet is still gentle and friendly, a flock favorite.

McComb watching over Scarlet and her new lambGeorge, the mascot of The Baalands and Sheep 101 is enjoying pen rest and two aspirin per day in a handful of pellets. His back right leg is swollen and he was limping around before I brought him into the hoop house for convelesing. The swelling seems to be going down, but he still holds his leg delicately. Besides, I think he'd rather be waited on than have to find his own food.

George is six years old now. He's biggest challenge in life remains carrying his fat body around. He weighed 213 lbs. last fall. It's hard to keep him from getting fat, since he does absolutely nothing (he's good at it) and it's not usual for him to be in a pen by himself.

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