Though yesterday was a grey chilly day, I was able to get the sheep out on pasture. Once lambing starts in February, my sheep are indoors for the duration of the winter. I don’t have fencing for lambs that will work in snow. (With money from lamb sales, last fall I had bought galvanized panels and treated posts, and Damon brought his excavator to the farm, but his health crashed and we never got to that project.) Someday.
Moving young lambs is always tricky. The ewes and yearlings know the routine and immediately rush to follow me (and the grain can). The lambs dither in the barn doorway, bleating in fright. Because they are not worried, the ewes do not bother to answer their crying babies. The noise is piercing. Often, as yesterday, I end up having to carry out the last few lambs one by one. I am always puffing and sweaty by the end of this exercise.
The grass is only beginning to flush green. I will be feeding hay for at least a couple of weeks, and the sheep will come in at night. But my hope is that by getting the sheep out early, I will avoid any problems in transitioning to the summer feeding regime of being on pasture 24/7.
Given that it was a grey day — only a couple of hours later, fog would be scudding low over the ground — I didn’t bother to put the covers on the sheep shelters yet.
One of the girls took the opportunity to give herself a neck rub.
My ram, Royal, was very interested in the ewes who had been separated since shearing time. He pursued them, sniffing eagerly and licking his lips.
Though I had hopes that at least one of my three ewes who did not give birth this year was pregnant, just late, that does not appear to be the case. I see no udder development at all.
I’ve been staring at sheep bottoms for a month. Though I could be wrong, I now think these girls are just fat.
This is a disappointment and the loss of their six lambs a discouraging financial hit. For the last two years I have sold all my lambs as breeding stock to other farms, usually in large groups as starter flocks.
However, I can’t change the facts. Onward!