Skip to main content

Lambing Season

Last weekend the lambing season of our larger group of ewes began. We breed a small group of ewes early so that we can have a few lambs available for our visitors at Shearing Day. But the bulk of the flock starts lambing in early April. Generally it's a bit warmer by then, although yesterday we had snow...

These are the ladies in waiting. (Note: It's hard to get good photos in our dark barn backlit by sunlight.) This is the group that The Farmer is scanning each time he goes out to check for lambs. He looks and he listens. There is a special "baaaa" that we only hear from the ewes during labor and delivery and for the first few days of the lambs' lives. When we hear that, we look harder. We look for a ewe standing or laying off by herself, or one who has her head turned back to look at her stomach. We look for lambs already born. If someone is in active delivery, we don't move her until she's finished and the lamb is cleaned off. 


The Farmer will pick up any lambs and back out of the pen slowly. The ewe will follow nervously and the family group will be placed in a "jug"--a special bonding pen that houses just one ewe and her lambs. Sometimes she will have her second (or third) lamb in this jug.


Once the lambs are born and cleaned off, they get up pretty quickly, and they have their first meal. This is the most important meal of their lives. Colostrum (first milk) gives warmth, energy and immunity that can mean the difference between life and death.


Once the lambs are a few days old, they and their mothers are moved into a mingling pen consisting of 3 or 4 family units. It takes a little while to sort out which lambs go with which mothers. The ewes know their lambs by smell (note the ewe sniffing a lamb), and the babies know their mothers by the sound of their voice. Anytime we combine family units or move them, there is a LOT of noise and commotion.


Occasionally the lambs are able to wiggle out of the mingling pen. Each pen's lambs are marked with a non-toxic mark (red in this photo) to tell The Farmer which pen they belong in. Eventually, the family units will be moved to larger mingling pens, and once the pastures are ready, they will all go outside for the summer.

It's a busy time of year, but one of The Farmer's favorite times. There is such joy when birth goes well, and it's a delight to watch the lambs grow and explore.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the 'insider's view' on the lambing season. I love seeing pictures of the babies, and I appreciate knowing some behind-the-scenes details.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Appreciate your comments!

      Delete
  2. And if you have any videos of the lambs "sproinging," that's always a delightful sight!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bloggy Giveaway--Now Closed

**This bloggy giveaway is now closed** Thanks to all who participated and gave such great comments. Janette is the winner of the $15 gift certificate to our etsy store.

I'm participating in the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival. Click the link to go to the carnival where you can enter to win literally hundreds of things.

The good news is that even if you have no time to play on the computer trying to win hundreds of things, you can still enter to win one thing right here.

This week, I will be giving away a $15 gift certificate to be used toward the purchase of an item in my etsy shop. This contest is open to residents of the United States or Canada only. The winner will receive free shipping on whatever item they choose. Items in my etsy shop include handwoven rugs, wool yarns and roving from our farm, and the ever-popular cotton dishcloth!

To be entered in this wonderful drawing, you must go to the etsy shop and look around a bit. Then come back here and type a comment that tells m…

Exploring Beyond the Traditional CSA Model

This is the time of year that many veggie farmers are offering sign-ups for CSAs. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture (read more here), and this membership structure offers a win-win situation for both the farmer and the member. The farmer receives income at a traditionally low-income time of year from membership fees—money that can be used to purchase seeds or pay a greenhouse heating bill, or just keep the lights on and everyone fed and clothed until the next paycheck comes. And the member is assured that all summer long he/she will eat well, usually at a lower cost than he/she would have paid to buy all those veggies individually. 

Our farm is quite different from most market farms. We don’t raise veggies, and what we do raise is available off and on for much of the year. We continue to go to the markets all winter, as weather and our energy levels allow. So we aren’t so much in need of a CSA model for timely income. But we look at our veggie farmer friends and wonder how…

Book Review: An Everlasting Meal

A year (or more) ago a customer/friend from the Sweetwater Market eagerly thrust a book into my hands. She said, "You will like this book. Here, read this chapter on beans." So, while I should have been paying attention to my customers, I was surreptitiously devouring Chapter 9, titled "How to Live Well."

I was hooked both by the writing style and the author's approach to cooking. I have assembled meals (for better or worse) for most of my adult life. But you could hardly call it cooking. Growing up I spurned my mother's offers to teach me the ways of the kitchen. (Sorry, Mom. I really was a pain.) And that lack, along with my careful approach to most of life, has made me stay in the shallow part of the pool--the place with predictable results. 1 cup of this + 1 pinch of that = something that would fill bellies.

I came home from market that day and placed the book on my PaperBack Swap wish list. I use PaperBack Swap as a way to slow down my acquisition of b…