Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Lambing Journal - Day 23

After yesterday's rain (2.9 inches in 24 hours), we arrived this morning to find all but one lamb doing just fine.  One of the lambs born yesterday, however, was quite cold.  I wrapped him in my coat (maybe I'll get to make an add for Carhartt!) and then asked our landlords Rich and Peggy Beltramo if they'd keep him in the house near a heater vent until Sami could come by and pick him up.  They were so gracious - they even asked tonight how "Curly" was doing!

Curly is doing great tonight!  Sami brought him home and put him near the woodstove on a heating pad.  When she got home from picking up Lara this afternoon, he was wandering around the living room.  As of tonight, he's had 12 ounces of milk, and he's ready for more!

We normally don't name the sheep, but the bottle babies do get names.  So far in 2011, we have Waylynn, Cooper (the Pooper), Baab, Fletcher, Buster and Curly.

On the lambing front, we had to pull two enormous lambs tonight.  Thankfully, Sami was able to come by the ranch and help me - I couldn't have done these two lambs on my own.  As we pulled the second one, it hailed momentarily.  Thankfully, everyone (lambs and ewes) seemed to be doing fine when we left at about 7 p.m.  In addition to the lambs we pulled, we had one more single and a set of twins.  I expect we'll have several more lambs come morning.

The lambs continue to be comedians!  They were playing a game of Race Around the Guard Dog today (we put Buck back in with the lambs in anticipation of taking Clara the llama to Rocklin next week).  Here's a video of their antics.

We also put all of the new yearling ewes through the footbath today, so that we could combine them with our yearling ewes.  Our friend, partner and farm advisory, Roger Ingram, has helped us design a corral system based on Bud Williams' design.  I've included a rough drawing of the set up below.

These new sheep have never been worked in something like this, and they've never been worked by dogs (until last Friday).  The corrals are set up to take advantage of the natural behavior of livestock (cows, sheep or goats).  Sheep naturally want to go back the way they came, so they flow easily out of the "Bud Box" into the alley (which I misspelled in the drawing!).  Motion draws motion, and they all walked easily into the footbath.  We worked 140 head in 4 hours (25 ewes at a time, soaking for 30 minutes in the footbath).  Our sheep know this system - it was great to see new sheep work so efficiently and stress-free!

1 comment:

  1. Forgot to mention - looks like our early lambing problems were related to selenium or zinc (or both) - it was not an infectious agent in the ewes. Since we started giving BoSe (vitamin E and selenium), we haven't had any problems.