Monday, March 14, 2011
Lambing and kidding is supposed to start on the 18'th...but the sheep had other plans. Three ewes had twins one the 9'th, 10'th and 11'th. That's what happens when my Coopworth ram jumps four fences to get in with the ewes and teaser ram. I didn't think he bred any, but I was wrong! At least these are all out of ewes who were to be crossbred. One of the ewes is 1/2 Shetland X 3/8 Corriedale/1/8 Dorset so her lambs are 1/2 Coopworth X 1/4 Shetland/ 3/16Corriedale/1/16 Dorset.
This little guy was trying to get comfortable and then figured out he can nurse laying down.
Fuzz the 1/2 Shetland X 3/8 Corriedale/1/8 Dorset (first time lamber) with her 1/2 Coopworth X 1/4 Shetland/ 3/16 Corriedale/1/16 Dorset lambs.
Sleeping Coopworth X Shetland baby.
I've been busy shearing my ewes and does before they start lambing. (I also deworm, vaccinate with CDT, and hoof trim them when I shear so I don't have to catch them twice.) After they are all shorn I'll start skirting their fleeces. I'd gotten behind this year a bit. First, I had some Shetland lambs who had to be shorn before going to market, and had to be kept in the barn until they went. Then I had to clean up the manure and get hay.
This is the barn after being sheep and goat proofed. The tarps are up so they don't try to get at the hay (what the can't see they don't want.) On the side is a pen make out of hog panels with the three ewes and their babies. I mostly do communal lambing pens, but can set up an individual pen if needed. Last year, I think only three needed a pen by themselves. One was a doe with a graftee kid, one ewe had triplets, and one had a weak/severely chilled kid. Yes, the barn does get very crowded, that is the biggest reason I shear before lambing (the other reasons are cleaner wool, drier barn as wet wool brings in a lot of moisture, and a cleaner udder area for the lambs.)
I have 41 more ewes and 9 does to lamb/kid. I hope, but some of my yearlings may be bred as a Shetland ram got in with them and that Cooworth got in with them on a different day. At least if any pure Shetland lambs are born from them I can register them as I'll know who the sire is. This year I have an empty three and one half sided shed and I'll put the first 10-12 ewes who lamb in there when things get crowded. (The yearlings are in the "cow shed" and the steer is in the freezer-where he belongs! He was very belligerent and would try "playing" with me if I had to go into his pen-not safe.)