Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lambing 2009

The 2009 lambing season started early, in late January, a result of Snow Wolf slipping through the electric fencing during a power outage in late summer. He impregnanted four ewes who gave birth to eight healthy lambs: 4 rams and 4 ewes; 1 set of triplets, 2 sets of twins, and 1 single birth. Seven white lambs and a red one. Don't know where the red color came from. These lambs are doing well and ready to go out to pasture with their moms. I'm going to need the room in the hoop house.

The next unauthorized lambing was a result of ram lambs slipping into the the pen with the ewe lambs while I was away in China. Four ewe lambs (almost yearlings) lambed, including one I sold a few days before it lambed. Three sets of twins and one single birth (the one I sold).

One of the sets of twins included a deformed lamb with no face. Obviously, this lamb was born dead. The lambs are of mixed colors. They are doing fine, though you always wish yearlings produced more milk. There's one ewe lamb I keep offering a bottle to, to make sure her appetitie is being satisfied.

So far, my favorite lambs are a set of twin black ewe lambs. They are solid black. One has a "star" on its forehead, like its mom, who also has two white feet (back). The lambs can be registered and there's a 50:50 chance that they are RR. #536 produced two nice lambs last year. One I sold at the KHSI annual sale. Her lambs are "pretty." She's a good milker.

Another favorite is "Kelso," one of the early lambs. Kelso was born when it was cold. I don't think he nursed much the first 24 hours. As a result, he got chilled. The first time I've had a hypothermic lamb. I tubed him with warm milk, then brought him into the house and placed him between two heating pads. After a few hours of warmth, he was up and demanding to be fed. I fed him a few more times and took him back to his mother the next morning.

Though she wasn't objecting, he wasn't interested in nursing her. He wanted me to feed him. So, I fed him for several days on a bottle. Eventually, he decided mom's milk tasted better. He has thrived ever since. I named him Kelso, after the Ashton Kutchner character on the 70's Show because he got chilled because he was too "stupid" to nurse. Pretty, but stupid, just like the 70's Show character.

One day when I went out to the hoop house, I found five lambs from two ewes that had lambed. I wasn't 100% certain which lambs went with which ewe. I think I got them right, but each of the ewes refuses to let one of her lambs nurse. I've been holding the ewes. Today, I'm going to put their heads in stanchions. I don't want to bottle feed lambs, whose moms have plenty of milk.

Last evening out in the field, seven lambs were born to two ewes. A 2-year old ewe gave birth to triplets and the matriarch of my flock, #92, gave birth to quads. All the lambs are white, with some freckled faces. These are my first lambs out of Lincoln, my new ram from Illinois. There are five rams and 2 ewe lambs. So far, all the multiples are doing okay.

Poor #92. She is 10 years old now. It's a heck of a time to have quads. She's a fantastic mother and an excellent milker, but expecting her to raise four lambs is probably expecting too much. Don't know whether I'll remove one lamb for bottle feeding or offer bottles to all of the lambs as a supplement. I'm going to take extra special care of #92. She's never been a ewe that holds a lot of body condition on her small frame.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Hello Susan, Funny I was trying to get some information about Californian Rabbits and teh picture of your GP came up with your sheep. My GP looks almost exacltly like yours and he stays with his sheep just like your dog. I enjoyed what you wrote. My sheep are Cheviott.. What are yours to get such a good lamb crop? It's amazing...