Wednesday, March 06, 2013

End of Round 1

Round 1 of the 2013 lambing season ended about a week ago. Seventeen ewes produced 36 lambs. There were four sets of triplets, two single births, and the rest twins.  Eighteen of the lambs are Mules, four are Lacaune crosses, and the rest are Katahdins. The ram-to-ewe ratio was 50:50.

I didn't see any lambs born, didn't assist any ewe. The only problems encountered were/are udder-related. One ewe had an enlarged teat that resolved itself after a few days. She is raising her three lambs. Two ewes lambed having mastitis on one side. I attribute this to not having the barn cleaned until yesterday. Maryland's new nutrient management regulations don't allow you to spread manure from November 1 until March 1.

Mule twin ewe lamb
This meant that pregnant ewes with developing udders were forced to bed down on over a year's  worth of manure. I tried to keep their bedding clean and dry, but I guess it wasn't good enough. I hate the nutrient management regulations. They have no concern for animal welfare or management. The only reason I am required to have a nutrient management plan is because of my income.

I will have to cull the two ewes with mastitis on one side. After several days of aggressive treatment (systemic and intramammary antibiotics), I failed to save either udder half.  One of the affected ewes is one of my best ewes.  I am so disappointed.  Both ewes are raising their twin lambs, though one lamb is not doing well. Whatever is wrong with the lamb goes beyond the mastitis his dam has, as I've never been able to get him to drink much from a bottle. Not sure he will make it.

Round 2 of lambing will begin around March 15. There are 16 mature ewes due to lamb. The five lambs (soon to be yearlings) should lamb in April, though one already has a nice little bag.

Most of the lambs in round 2 will be Katahdins.  There will be a few more Lacaune crosses. There won't be any more Mule lambs born, unless a ewe was bred by a clean-up ram. The rams were  changed three times before being separated from the ewes.

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