We got another foot of snow yesterday. This morning I tramped out paths for the sheep when I put out their breakfast hay. This was a totally wasted effort. The girls are up to their bellies in snow but wade through it completely unconcerned.
Above is Lily, the first purebred Clun ewe born at Fairhope Farm. She is the daughter of Blackberry, and is rising two years old. Though she’ll be a first-time mama I’m crossing my fingers that she may be carrying twins. (The holy grail of twin ewe lambs would be just too much to hope for!)
My first lambs should appear about a month from now and I’m starting to get ready. In the next few days I need to catch all the ewes and vaccinate them with CD-T toxoid, to guard against clostridium diseases and tetanus. I’ll check their teats, crutch any that need it (cut away the excess wool around the udder), and maybe even put collars on them so I can identify them at a glance from far away. I’ll be interested to discover if any of the five ewe lambs are pregnant — though if they cycled, they would have cycled later, so it may still be too early to know.
All eleven ewes seem vigorous and round. I will be able to tell more when I get my hands on them and my fingers through the wool. A sheep in full fleece can be as deceptive as a runway model in a bulky down parka — they could be string beans under all that mass.
But I don’t think so.
Looking at the ages of my ewes (it’s a very young flock, almost half under a year), and the individual lambing histories, it appears to me that my next crop will be somewhere between 6 and 15 lambs. That’s barring any losses. Naturally, I’m hoping for the higher number.
Every year my shepherding practices get a little better, a little more organized, a little more deliberate with mineral supplements and regular worming. I hope that pays off this winter with lots of bouncing babies.