We had 2 more sets of twins and a single born during last night's rainstorm, and another single was born while I was at the ranch this morning. Everyone is doing fine, despite the excitement of yesterday's lambing school. We've now had 67 ewes give birth. Combined with the 7 ewes that Samia found to be "open" (or not bred) yesterday, that means we have at most 57 ewes left to lamb. We'll probably have more born tonight!
One of the lambs that was born on Friday was consistently away from his mother all day yesterday. The smaller of a set of twins, he seemed to prefer hanging out with the other lambs and stealing a drink of milk from whichever ewe was close at hand. I tried to put him back with his mother several times last night and finally had to give up when it got dark. I decided he'd either figure things out or I'd find him dead today.
When I arrived at the ranch this morning, he was once again away from his mother. However, he was impossible to catch - which means he'd had plenty to eat during the night. I watched him nurse off of several ewes.
Most ewes will not let any lamb that's not their own nurse. Every year, however, there seems to be one or two lambs that everyone takes care of. I wonder what it is - maybe there's something about that particular lamb's smell or persistence. It's pretty funny to watch!
Our goal is to have a 150% lamb crop - that means that out of 100 ewes, we'll get 150 lambs. At the moment our lambing percentage is about 139% (our survival rate is lower, but the conception rate tells us something about our management prior to and during breeding). To reach our goal this year, the last 57 ewes will need to have 104 lambs. We probably won't quite get there, but we should have another 75-90 lambs born in the next 4 weeks.
Ranchers, myself included, are conservative by nature. I don't mean politically (although this is also true in many cases). Many of...
I spent the last week traveling through northeastern California talking about (and more importantly, learning about) protecting livestock...
My sheep shearer, Derrick Adamache, tells a story about the value of wool 100 years ago. Relatively speaking, wool was worth much more in ...