Trickle lambs

It looks like a lamb but it is just one of the barn cats! I had to really look when I went to feed and water our “wide as long” ewe. The new barn cat has been hanging out with this ewe for the last couple of weeks. Annmarie spotted the ewe chasing her off a couple of days ago. We are hoping that means she will have her babies soon! They get super protective before and after delivering.

The barn is definitely chaos now when you walking through trying to feed. I shuffle my feet so I can just scoot the lambs out of the way as I head to the feeders. I love this part of having sheep. It is pure chaos and cacophony in the barn. After feeding I usually walk through and snag various lambs to pickup and pet on. The ewes get so tame that you can just walk through and touch everyone. During the summer we will only be able to touch 3-5 as they get very wild running around and free ranging.

Every morning and night we go out expecting babies and are disappointed. I did the night chores on Wednesday at night and checked, no babies. I went out, in the daylight, first thing in the morning Thursday and found a set of twins under the overturned wheelbarrow! The little buggers had hid from me the previous night. I chased the mommas out and noticed that their momma went right to them. She had to have bonded well and fed them well for them to survive outside in 26 F weather. I chased the pregnant mommas back into their area and opened up the area under the stairs. I put food and water in there and chased the momma inside. I had to snag both babies and they tried to run away which is a great sign of their strength. I locked them up and left them. I had noticed that they had nursed already so I was hopeful they would get their sea legs back. Last night they looked great!! We are going to write down the ear tag numbers if either twin is a girl because that is one good momma! The ewe is pretty jumpy, but it is her first set of babies but coming back and owning them after they spent 12 hours outside is amazing. No more babies this morning. The twins looked great, but they are small and I will paste them tonight. I didn’t want to upset the mother. I am going to have to increase the height of one wall under the stairway. the gate on one end is low and I need to raise it. We like this area as a crèche. Normally, it was just sitting unused but this is the second year we have used it and its handy.

The two DeWalt battery work lights are amazing! We now have them at each end of the barn and if you turn them both on the entire barn is lit. We are seriously considering two more, one for each hay room and calling it good. We were talking about installing solar and a 12 V storage system with LED lights throughout the entire barn. That was gonna cost about $2k without labor. For $480 and 4 hours of labor to install mounting spots we can have better than daylight light levels inside the barn.

We are talking about a water storage tank for watering in the winter. The water could come from the roof and a gutter system. This is purely in the discovery phase. I would love to find a 500-1000 gallon water storage tank for fairly inexpensive. I also still need a manure spreader! So keep your eyes out for one, looking for an older one that needs a new floor. I want it to work, but it does not have to be pretty.

Our current numbers are as follows:

1 death

4 bummers

13 singles (39%)

17 twins (52%)

3 triplets (9%)

33 ewes birthed

5 pregnant ewes pending birth

46 lambs dosed, tagged and banded

5 babies dosed only

2 babies undosed

Production rate:

Birthed 185%

On our farm and alive 161%. 150% is great, 125% is bare minimum. We are winning!!

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