Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Almost finished

The 2013 lambing season is almost complete. There are over 70 lambs on the ground, with only four ewe lambs (yearlings) left to lamb.  One yearling has already given birth to triplets.  She is raising two. I decided to remove the third one for bottle feeding. This is the first time I have had a yearling ewe have triplets.

My string of unassisted births ended with two ewes. The first ewe was a two year old ewe that was having trouble pushing a fifteen pounder out.  Either she was too tired or lazy. I pulled it out for her. It was an easy assist.

A pair of March-born Katahdin ram lambs
The situation with the next ewe was more serious. Her first lamb was breech. It was easy to get out. I didn't have to go in very far. She delivered the second lamb on her own. The third lamb was stuck with its head out.  Both legs were back. It was easy to pull this lamb out. I usually just extend one leg out.

After these two assisted births, the ewes went back to lambing on their own. The last mature ewe lambed yesterday. #077 had two big Katahdin lambs, a ram and a ewe.

It's impossible to keep lambs out of the octagon feeder.
I have another ewe with mastitis. I should have culled her last year (her triplets lambs didn't grow as well as they should have), but I didn't. After weaning, her lambs caught up, and I appreciated the income from three lambs.  This year, I had to remove her twin lambs for bottle feeding.  After treatment, one half of her udder is producing milk, but I don't know if I'll be able to put a lamb back on or not.

So, I have three lambs in the orphan pen.  I am trying to teach them to nurse from a bucket.  They'll do it while I hold them, but I'm not so sure they drink much while I'm at work. I've dubbed the twin ewe lambs Josephine and Jezibell.  The triplet ram lamb from the yearling ewe is Quincy. He's half the size of the ewes. He weighed 4.5 lbs. at birth; the ewe lambs were around 10.

The February lambs are eating like pigs and growing like gangbusters. I put a group of eight ewes and their lambs in the back pasture. They have a shed for shelter. I'll continue to feed hay and grain until the grass comes in. The lambs have an outdoor creep feeder.

February-born lambs
I'll do more re-arranging this weekend. I want to give most of the ewes and lambs access to pasture, even though there isn't much pasture growth yet. Spring is very slow coming.  Night time temperatures continue to be on the cool side. Day time temperatures seem to be edging up.

It's been a good lambing season. No lambs have died.  A few udder problems have been the only downside. The split lambing season has worked out well.

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