Sunday, April 28, 2013

Getting bigger

The lambs are getting bigger. I've started the process of weaning the lambs born in February. To do this, I reduce protein in the the ewe's grain ration, then I reduce and eventually eliminate grain from their ration. I put the ewes in the hoop house and feed them a low quality grass hay. After eating the grass hay for a week or two, they'll be pastured at my dad's place.

Katahdin Mules born in February
There is still one more yearling ewe left to lamb (Belle).  I suspect she will have her lamb(s) sometime in May. For now, she is still co-habitating with the Katahdin yearling ram (Phelps). The yearlings that have lambed are doing well with their lambs. Today, their lambs will finally get access to creep feed and other lambs (to play with).

This chunky Katahdin ram lamb gets
more than his fair share of creep feed.
I've been doing some more re-arranging.  More ewes were brought in the barn for the weaning process. A group of four ewes with triplets will be put out in the front pasture. I am making an area in the front of the hoop house where they can come in for shelter and where the lambs can access creep feed.  I'm still waiting to have the plastic shelter that was twisted by the hurricane fixed.

This 2 year old Mule has a Lacaune-X ram lamb.
I have lots of vaccinating to do. My goal is to vaccinate the lambs when they approximately 6-8 and 10-12 weeks of age. Their dams were vaccinated during late pregnancy; passive immunity shouldn't start to wane until the lambs are 6 to 8 weeks of age.

I vaccinate orphan lambs at 4 weeks age, since they may not have consumed sufficient quantities of their dam's colostrum. Today, I vaccinated the three orphans. It was a challenge. While I was trying to inject, the other lambs would poke their faces into where I was injecting. 

The orphans are growing very well.
The orphans have been reduced to two feedings per day, 16 oz per feeding. They are also drinking milk from a bucket. They are about four weeks old now. I will wean them when they are approximately six weeks old. It is such a challenge to get them to eat creep feed, else I'd wean them earlier, as they are growing quite well. They'd better! Milk replacer is expensive and they are drinking it like gangbusters.

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