Skip to main content

A Lambing Journal - Day 25

Here's today's tally - 3 ewes gave birth (2 sets of twins, one single).  A maiden ewe was nursing new lambs when I arrived this morning - they're doing great!  When I moved the ewes and lambs at mid-day, I found a new lamb whose mother had left him for new feed.  I found her (she's a border cheviot), and noticed that she was going to have a second lamb.  I also noticed a third ewe who was in early stages of labor.

In the hour or so that it took me to move fence, the cheviot had her second lamb.  The third ewe didn't progress much.  The other development in that hour was that it grew colder and started to rain and blow.  Sami arrived at about 1:30 p.m. to help me pull the lamb from the third ewe.  We decided we'd keep an eye on the cheviot twins - their mother wasn't much interested in them.

On my first trip home, I brought one of the cheviot twins home.  After running a few errands, I stopped to check on everyone again.  By this time, the temperature had dropped further and it was trying to snow (great lambing weather).  The second cheviot lamb, and the big single we'd pulled, were in trouble.  Their mothers were off grazing, and they were obviously VERY cold and hungry.  They came home, too.  All three lambs will spend the night in the living room near the woodstove.  They've figured out the bottle and seem to be thriving.  As of tonight, we have 10 bottle lambs - too many, but what are we going to do?!  As we jokingly tell ourselves, if sheep raising were easy, everyone would be doing it!

Mercifully, it's quit raining and sleeting.  The weather is still cold, but at least it's not as wet.  I'll head back to the ranch after dinner to check on everyone.

Finally, during my last trip to the ranch this afternoon, I wore a Filson wool coat (from my Dad) and a Pendelton wool shirt (from my uncle).  These garments are probably at least 40 years old - and still in great shape.  What's more - I stayed warm despite being soaked.  Wool is wonderful - thank you, sheep!!!

Comments

  1. When I went back out to check on the ewes at 9 p.m., the rain/sleet had stopped. One of the lambs born last night was pretty cold, so I brought him home - I think Sami secretly enjoys having the bottle babies around! We also had 2 more lambs. I think they were twins, but the crazy cheviot ewe who had abandoned her own lambs was taking care of one of them.

    As I write this, it's started raining again. I'll get up at 12:30 a.m. and go back to check the sheep. I can tell already - it's going to be tough to wake up for the farmers' market in the morning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I couldn't drag myself out of bed until almost 1 a.m., but I did go and check on the sheep. It's about 37 degrees out - raining lightly with a brisk breeze. Amazingly, the ewes and lambs seem to be dealing with it just fine. There were two sets of fairly recent twins that I was a bit worried about, but their mothers found them and they seemed to be okay.

    Heard coyotes singing on either side of us (at some distance). The guard dogs heard them, too - they were definitely "on duty!"

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Trade Offs

As we were building fence for the soon-to-be-lambing ewes this morning, someone drove by and asked my partner Roger how long it took to set up the electro-net fencing we use for the sheep. Roger replied, "It's not too bad," to which the driver said, "Seems like a lot of work." Roger's answer - which both of us use with some frequency, was, "Yeah - but this way we don't have to feed any hay!" The driver, who obviously wasn't a rancher, didn't understand - and I suspect even some of my rancher friends don't understand the trade off we're making. Building electric fence is a lot of work - wouldn't it be easier just to feed hay?

The paddock that Roger and I built this morning encloses about 5.75 acres of high quality forage. Since the ewes are on the verge of lambing, their forage demand is peaking. They're eating nearly twice as much grass now as they need in the late summer - after all, many of them eating for three (and p…

No Easy Answers Part 2

In mid October, some friends who graze their cattle in the mountains of western Lassen County (less than 200 miles from our home), became the first ranchers to have cattle “officially” killed by wolves in California in nearly a century. Wildlife officials confirmed that the Lassen pack killed a 600-pound heifer; four more heifers died (and were partially eaten by wolves), but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) couldn’t confirm the cause of death. While I learned about the depredations shortly after they happened through the rancher grapevine, news of my friends’ losses weren’t made public until the California Cattlemen’s Association and California Farm Bureau Federation issued a joint press release this week. The October 28 edition of the Sacramento Bee ran the story.
If you’ve read my previous blogs about wolves, you’ll probably know that I’ve frequently been frustrated with the Bee’s coverage. The paper has run guest opinions disguised as news articles, and appar…

Humbled and Excited

More than 20 years ago, I went to work for the California Cattlemen's Association (CCA). After two internships, I'd been hired by my friend and mentor John Braly as the membership director in 1992. By 1996, I'd been promoted to assistant vice president - pretty heady stuff for a young guy who hadn't grown up in the industry. I started looking for new challenges. Dr. Jim Oltjen, who was (and is) the beef extension specialist at UC Davis (my undergraduate alma mater) suggested that I think about going to graduate school to prepare for a career in extension. I considered it, but the timing wasn't right.

Fast forward to 2013 (or so) - I'd been working as a part-time community education specialist in our local University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) office for several years. The farm advisors in the office - Roger Ingram and Cindy Fake - suggested that I consider getting a master's degree and applying for a future farm advisor job. This time the id…