Lamb day

The sheep have taken up more of my staycation than I anticipated. I spent a whole day on Friday messing around with them. Due to all of the babies and only having one Jug left open It was determined I should tag and band babies. I usually just turn the babies loose and in a month try and match and catch random babies. It tends to be inaccurate and fairly labor intensive. Annmarie has been trying to get me to tag and band from the jugs for ages. The real problem is banding the lambs at that age is not easy. I have tagged and banded over 330 male lambs so I am pretty confident in getting it right now no matter the age. Plus it has the added benefit of actually being able to track each ewe accurately. Meathead helped me tag band and give selenium supplement to everyone in the jugs except the newborn twins under the stairs. We then put fresh straw in all of the used jugs and moved panels around to make the momma/baby area bigger and created a chute for the pregnant mommas to get into the barn. As the momma/baby group gets bigger we just keep giving them more of the front of the barn and the preggers get the smaller back half. It took us few years to figure this out! Nothing is ever easy when you start, there are a lot of hard lessons to getting a good routine down. The feeders get moved around also to correspond to the number of mouths needing fed.

  • Date of update- Feb 3, 2023
  • # of Lambs born – 15
  • # of ewes who have delivered babies – 8
  • # of ewes still pregnant – lots
  • # of single lamb births – 2
  • # of twin lamb births – 5
  • # of triplet lamb births – 1
  • # tagged male (weathers-neutered) lambs-6
  • # tagged female lambs-4
  • # of bummer lambs – 1
  • # of lambs who died in first two weeks – 1
  • Total # of lambs on farm -13
  • % birthing rate- 188%
  • % production rate -163%
  • % survival rate at birth – 100%
  • % survival rate at 2 weeks (bummers count as death as they need help and leave the farm) – 87%

Staycation is paying off

It’s been a busy two days. I went out to the barn yesterday hoping for babies and found none. So I kicked everyone out, filled the hay feeders and then grained everyone. I went and opened the barn door to let the sheep in so I could go fill the triplet’s water and spotted a brand new lamb, still covered in goo out in the barn lot. I literally had only taken 15 minutes to get everything in place. Now I had no clue who had given birth and they had all bum rushed the door as they wanted to be the first one to eat grain, even the new mother. I walked up and down the feeders looking for the ewe that had just given birth. I found her but she was low woman on the totem pole and had not managed to secure a spot on the wall feeder. We walked back and forth along the feeder until I was finally able to catch her and lock her in a Jug. As soon as I had the Jug gate secured she hit the gate with her head at a dead run trying to get out. I went out, scooped up the newborn lamb, I had leather gloves on and they got all gooped up, I then wiped the lamb down with some old hay netting and put her in with her mother. Mom was not interested in the lamb, only in eating. I left the lamb and asked Sarah to check in on them in 90 minutes so I could get started on applying polyurethane sealant to the new office floor. I can use two coats and the best part is if I apply the coats between 4-12 hours after the previous coat I do not have to sand the floor between coats, this was a huge selling point for me. It took me almost three hours to get the first coat on the floor. I went out after dinner and applied the second coat. I was back inside by 2100. The floor looked pretty shiny, but the floor was still wet.

On a side note, I was at the door doing the last one foot of floor, since I was at the door I had the polyurethane can directly in front of me, instead of the side like normal. I also had a cheap work shirt with a short breast pocket only. I had dirtied my two shirts already this week with the zip close breast pockets. Of course my phone was in my breast pocket and yes it slipped out of my pocket and dropped into the polyurethane! It was totally immersed, I fished it out and dried it off as best I could. I then finished the floor and then went inside the house, took the phone out of the case and buffed off the polyurethane until it was gone. My case had a cover over the charging port but the women tell me that the speakers are no longer as good as they were. I usually Bluetooth it to an external speaker anyways. My hearing is not great and I need the bigger louder speakers. The phone case had to go in the trash. I am now using Annmarie’s phone case and need to buy a new one. I am “not to be trusted” without a case. I drop my phone several times a week in the course of just using it.

This morning the plan was to get outside, do the chores real quick and then start on the walls. The Juniper on the ceilings is not going to get sealed, it will remain untouched. The floor was dry enough to walk on. That polyurethane really did dry quick. I was pretty impressed. I am definitely not a professional applicator, as I could spot the imperfections in the finish but most people are not going to notice.

The sheep had other ideas. I found two more ewes that had given birth and the single from yesterday had turned into a set of twins and the crazy mother was now paying attention to both of them. I got the ewe with a single and the other with twins into new Jugs and proceeded to then feed everyone grain and hay, then let them back in and get water a couple of times for all the Jugged mothers. Once that was done it was time to go to the old house. I got interrupted earlier at breakfast to get a loveseat delivered for my mother-in-law. The nephews will come out on the weekend and help me move the old one out of her house and into the new office and then take the new one to her house. One more reason for me to get this thing done! Sarah came out and we started to rub the “Tried and True” onto the walls, it gets applied with a lint free cloth liberally then wiped off in 60 minutes. It took us almost six hours to get all the walls rubbed on then off. Tomorrow I will work on the trim.

Closing in on office

Well the sheep are letting us down. Annmarie is hoping the mommas all have their babies this week while I am off so she does not have to deal with them at 0400 in the dark before work. I am hoping the same thing but yesterday there were no new babies. So the triplets stay in the pen with their momma and everyone else still gets to run around.

I had to go to town so I picked up the new front tire for the John Deere tractor. I also picked up stain and polyurethane for the office floor. Annmarie and I decided that a lighter color would be better in the office. I told her it would show more floor imperfections but we decided that since it is the original floor that is not a problem. There was a lot of “wax on, wax off” action as I stained the floor. The floor that was sanded the smoothest took up the least amount of stain. The small spots of brown/white paint that could not be sanded out show through. There is some kind of green stain over by the window across from the door, no idea what it is but it shows through. There are also two spots of oil stains that show through on the NW wall that show through also. The rough sandpaper marks are visible, for the most part now you cannot catch your toe on any edge in the room, you can tell there are a couple of wavy spots but no edges. The worst part is the temperature needs to be above 50 F for the stain to dry effectively. I was smart this time and worked carefully towards the door so I did not stain myself into a corner. This only takes once before you realize it is crucial to getting even coverage. I will need to hang both heaters in the windows today before I start sealing the floor. I will also need to dry mop the entire floor to get any loose particles up before I put down the polyurethane. I kept snapping pictures to send to Annmarie to see if she liked the color as I progressed.

I placed an order for parts for the barn system on Sunday. I am super stoked about getting it installed. I am hopeful I can do it this weekend. If needed I will get the entire light strings up and then do the charger conversion last. I could have lights in every room of the barn for $300 in supplies! I will be making a You Tube video for this process. It is too cool not to take the time and record it so it can be duplicated.

Finally, office floor is ready for stain

I hit the office floor hard today. I gotta say it just was not pleasant. I had to keep the door open with a fan blowing out and it was only about 15 F all day so it was not exactly warm crawling around on the floor sanding. I had the paint off yesterday so today it was just sanding down the rough spots and getting it close to normal. It took me most of the day, then I vacuumed the floor with a broom like head. Then blew off the walls and floor with air, then swept then vacuumed the entire floor with just the vacuum hose, then swept again, then vacuumed one last time! It is now ready for stain. I plugged in two electric heaters and turned the heat pump back on. Tonight the temperature was 60 F. I will be able to put stain down at that temperature tomorrow.

The sheep are just not cooperating with this whole lambing concept. I was hoping since I was on staycation this week we could get all of the lambing done this week. It was a dream that was sorta possible. Instead when I went out this morning I found no new lambs and the mother that had twins, one of which she rejected, had a dead lamb in the pen. No idea why it died. So not only are we not having lambs but our productivity is dropping the longer we go. Plus it is cold outside! It was 5 degrees F this morning and no the lamb did not freeze, it was in the closed up barn and the pen it was in is the most central pen so it is not even near a wall. The triplets are in a corner pen with two outside walls and they did just fine! I had to break ice for the momma this morning.

Lamb Stats:

8-Lambs born

4-Ewes delivered babies

Lots-# of ewes still pregnant

1-Single lamb birth

2-Twin lamb births

1-Triplet lambs birth

1-Bummer lamb

1-Lamb died in first two weeks

6-Total lambs on farm

200% Birthing rate

150% Production rate

150% Survival rate at 2 weeks (Bummers count as dying as they would die without help)

On the plus side the chickens are laying eggs. We are getting 7-8 eggs from 12 hens every day now. This is great as we were not getting hardly any. So the lucky few are glad the hens starting back up again.

Lamb productivity

I am officially on staycation. My plan is to get the office floor done while I am off. If I can get that done then I can start loading stuff into the office! This will be amazing as we will be able to thin out the stuff in our bedroom. The floor is slow going. Getting those multiple layers of paint off of the floor was not easy. I am now going over the floor to get the sandpaper marks out of the floor. I won’t be able to get them all but I can knock down the number there are. I am hopeful I can get the floor all sanded tomorrow and then put some stain on the floor on Tuesday! The biggest problem on Monday will be getting the floor and walls clean of dust before I stain the floor. I will put the fan up in the doorway tomorrow. I have been using the vacuum and wearing an N95 while I have been sanding the floor. It’s pretty cold to keep the door open, 11 degrees F. I will dress warm tomorrow and just be cold. Once the floor is sanded I will use the high pressure air and try and blow all the dust out of the room. I am not sure how well that will work but it cannot hurt and if some goes out then it will be helpful.

I had a goal to get all of the paint off of the floor in the office. The real problem is its not very warm outside! I have been waiting until the thermostat gets to 20 F before going out to sand on the floor. When I open up the door and turn on the fan the heat goes right out of the building. I managed to get the paint removed and just started working on smoothing out the wooden floor. I will need to put everything away so I don’t have to work around any equipment.

I worked on a couple of little things this weekend that needed to happen. I fed the cows again. I love the big bales, just saying! I decided to see if the Kubota tractor could move the old lamb shed that got blown off its wooden supports. I was able to lift up a side and then manually move the beams on the ground. The 4×6 beams that make up the underside of the building need to be replaced. They are rotten. It also needs to be on concrete pillars at a minimum. Getting it back up onto the beams will keep the moisture from getting into the underside boards. This will buy me a few more years until I figure out what I am going to do with this building. I am unclear now. I was going to make a small chapel out of it but with the office now I am not sure Annmarie needs it. I will have to think about it. I do need a spot to store metal stock that is out of the weather. Maybe I use it for that? I don’t know.

The ewes are on strike. We have not had any born today and we are only getting one set of babies a day and have only had four ewes give birth in the last seven days. We expected the flood gates to open by now. We have two sets still in the pens. The single will go into the momma baby area tomorrow. I moved the triplets to the biggest pen today. We thought they could go out into the momma baby area but one of the triplets is very small. We are not sure it can get in and out of the barn by itself. So until it is big enough to get around easily they will have to stay in a pen.

Lamb update:

8-Lambs born

4-Ewes delivered babies

Lots-# of ewes still pregnant

1-Single Lamb birth

2-Twin Lamb births

1-Triplet lamb births

1-Bummer lamb
0-Lambs died in first 2 weeks

7-Total lambs on farm

200% Birthing rate

175% Production rate

200% Survival rate at birth

175% Survival rate at 2 weeks (bummers count here as they would die without help)