As we go through our normal day to day late winter chores, this year we’re busy getting ready for some early arrivals. Nine of the ewes were bred early by two ‘bad boy’ fence jumping rams and are due, not in April with the rest of the flock, but in the next couple weeks. It is a challenge to adjust our usual spring lambing and feeding routine to a winter one, but we’re working hard on the logistics.
Saturday dawned with sleet, hail and strong winds… not the best way to begin shearing day. Joe and Melvin made short work of our 37 ewes as we ooohed and aaawed over each beautiful fleece as it came off and was bagged. We vaccinated with CDT, checked FAMACHA scores and checked body condition. By the time we moved the ewes back out to pasture, the skies were blue and the sun was shining. What perfect timing!
Lambing will begin in the next couple weeks. And of course we can’t wait to get our hands on all those gorgeous fleeces!
February said farewell in a lovely way… cold temperatures but lots of sunshine. It seemed as if suddenly the birds truly believed that spring would soon arrive and began their songs in earnest. March 1st definitely roared in like a lion, but oh, on that last day of February, we all enjoyed the sunshine and had a renewed sense of hope.
Coltsfoot, daffodils, maple tree blooms, bulging bellies and finally…
Little Mister 1401 – born on Saturday, out of Maire (my+ra), one of the yearlings, and an unidentified suitor. He is small, weighing 7 lbs 8 ozs but really just the right size as Maire is a yearling and not yet producing much milk. We were a little worried, but he is gaining weight so we’ll let him continue to ‘encourage’ her to produce more.
The remainder of the lamb arrivals will be pretty spread out as it took as several weeks to get all the breeding groups in place last fall. The timing should be pretty good as the pastures are just beginning to green-up after the long, harsh winter.
Today is the big day! Everyone is tucked inside the barn to stay dry. We’re so excited to see the beautiful fleeces coming off the sheep! We’re sure that the girls are pretty excited to be rid of their heavy winter coats. The best thing is that we will be able to check the condition of the expectant mamas.
We’ve been playing a lot of “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other” for the last week or so. With the heavy snowfalls and the apparently inherent ‘es-capability’ of hoggets, there has been an on-going game of musical pastures. Each morning at feeding time everyone is moved back to their appointed pasture, and the next morning everyone is back in the barn paddock. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing except for the varying nutritional needs of the different groups. We didn’t really have the time or energy to discover and repair the escape routes before the next round of snow began. So for now… musical pastures it is 🙂
Saturday afternoon was spent breaking up the breeding groups and moving all the ewes back to the barn paddock. Despite the snow and the bitterly cold wind, it went much better than we expected. Usually we put up a moving lane to facilitate the moving process, but we didn’t this time because of the weather. Instead we opened the paddocks one at a time and led each ram back to the barn. All the ladies followed their guy… success! We kept our old guy, Liam, and young Fury at the barn with the ewes. Hopefully that will work out as well as it did last year with Strider.
And so, with a hearty round of the song “We’re all together again… We’re here… We’re here” everyone is settling in nicely.
Hebe, Patience and their twins are the only occupants at the moment. They’re getting lonely… come on girls, let’s get moving.