on the road

on the road

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall Lambs

Last May, we purchased roughly 50 older ewes from another sheep rancher in the Delta.  While most sheep are seasonal breeders (that is, they only breed when the days are growing shorter), these ewes were "out-of-season" breeders.  When we got them home, we turned our Blueface Leicester rams in with them.  About 150 days later (last Sunday, to be exact), these ewes started lambing.
Mo says "I'm ready to go to work!"

Vegas - our youngest guard dog.


I love lambing season - there's something about new life that makes the days exciting.  This is our first year lambing in the fall, however, and we're finding it a bit different.  First, the feed quality is not what it is in the springtime (when we normally lamb), which makes meeting the nutritional needs of the ewes more difficult.  We're finding that we need to supplement the pasture grasses just to keep the ewes going.  Second, since it's been warm (actually, downright hot), we've been somewhat worried about dehydration in the lambs.  Third, since these ewes weren't raised in our system of pasture lambing, we're having to adjust to their mothering style.

New arrivals!
The upside of lambing in the fall is that we'll have product to sell next spring.  The wether lambs that are being born this week will reach a finished weight next April or May.  We're also hoping that the ewe lambs being born now will inherit some of their mothers' out-of-season breeding ability.  While the results of this experiment won't be known until sometime in the future, I'm enjoying the daily gift of new life!

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