I came home early today from work so we could catch up on the lambs. We had to bummer out a second one on Wednesday and it was not able to stand. After talking with several people we think it may be a Selenium deficiency. The trouble is there is not a really good salt lick for sheep that delivers selenium. The one for cows has a toxic dose of copper for sheep. They do make a paste you can feed them so we got some. I also picked up some more buckets and straps and plastic salt holders with predrilled holes in the bottom so the water doesn’t make a mess. After stopping at the feed store I headed home. We had decided to get this all done during daylight hours and we always underestimate how long it will take.
I told Annmarie we might as well tag and band at the same time. That way we will know who got medicine. So we chased all the babies and mommas into the barn and Annmarie got the three moms and four babies in main population with two extra ewes into the barn and we locked everyone else out. That left one mom and one lamb outside with the ewes. She had also managed to separate out two ewes and four babies this morning into the far pen in the barn. I usually just sit down on the barn floor and let Annmarie bring the lambs to me. I had to go into an unused corner of the barn to get a couple of piles of clean straw to toss down where I wanted to sit. I laid out the medicine and the tags and bander on each side of me and she proceeded to start catching babies. We did the combo area first and there are times you would think we killed the little boys. Some do not like the rubber bands on their testicles. They keep backing up after it happens in the hopes of getting away from the pain. After anywhere from 5-30 minutes they start behaving normally. The other reaction is to just sprawl out on the straw and appear to have died. It also goes away in 15-30 minutes. If you are going to be melodramatic you might as well draw it out.
We then snagged the four lambs in the middle part after kicking the two adult pregnant ewes out. We opened up the entire barn after snagging the two sets of twins on the end and pushed all done herd into the baby area.
Now we have 24 ewes left in “General Population” or “Gen Pop” for short per Annmarie. I get a kick out of it every time she says it. Only 23 have not delivered a lamb yet. We have had 17 ewes give birth for a total of 30 lambs in our barn. This gives us a reproductive rate of 176%!! This is very good. If you counted the two bummers and the one I found dead as live births we would have 194% birth rate, Annmarie tells me I cannot manipulate the numbers this way and only get to count the live lambs we have in the barn.
So the current numbers are as follows:
17 ewes birthed
23 ewes still pregnant
30 lambs tagged and banded