Sunday, April 16, 2017

Spring has sprung

According to the calendars, it's been spring for almost a month. But, it only seems as if spring has been here for a week or so. Today is Easter. It is a beautiful day. All but two of the ewes have lambed. One should lamb within the next couple of days. The other is a wild card, obviously caught late.

The yearlings finished lambing. Seven ewes had fourteen lambs. All are doing well. I am supplementing one with a bottle. I call him "Sloppy Joe," because he is so sloppy about drinking milk. The milk dribbles out of his mouth. I've tried different nipples, but the result is the same. Yesterday, I set up a creep area for the yearlings' lambs. Don't think they've been in it yet.

Mostly blind ewe: 14 lambs in 5 years

The (mostly) blind ewe lambed about five days ago. She had triplet ewe lambs, two colored (I might have to keep them). I put her and her lambs in the garage with the two-year-old ewes and their triplets. All the garage ewes and babies seem to be doing fine. Another late lamber, Ms. Piggy's two-year-old daughter, had a nice single ram lamb a few days ago. He's a strong lamb, so I was able to merge him with the main group after a few days. I didn't mind the single, as the lambing percentage is above 200.

A rare single: she raised twins as a yearling.

I merged the twin and triplet groups a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to give all the ewes access to pasture. The last load of hay was poor and they weren't eating much of it. So, I went to the hay auction to get some "decent" hay, mostly for the yearlings. I failed. I bought a pick-up load of alfalfa (paid too much for it), but it is very coarse and at times musty. It's variable and they eat it so-so. Grow grass grow! Thank God for grain; it can always make up for poor quality forage.

A favorite place for the lambs to play.

The lambs seem to be doing fine. One lamb (Ivanka) is still drinking milk from a bottle full-time, though I never separated her from her dam. Her dam is a 2-year-old with triplets. A few other lambs will occasionally take a sip from a bottle. The ewe with mastitis is raising both of her lambs, from one side. The ewe that got sick earlier recovered fully (never knew what was wrong; she seemed to have some sort of obstruction) and is raising her three lambs. Yesterday, I enlarged the creep area. The lambs are starting to eat more. The creep feed is 60% cracked corn + 40% soybean meal, with some minerals mixed in. I'm going to start mixing whole barley and (protein) pellets in.

Threesome enjoying spring.

I'm having trouble with my electric fence. I can only get the voltmeter to read about 2000 volts, not enough to deter the lambs. I can't figure out the problem. Once I get the problem solved, I can start letting the sheep stay out all night.

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