Weaning Day

Saturday was weaning day.  We set up moving lanes on Friday, and moved everyone, including the yearling ewes and wethers, into the corral overnight.  Bright and early the next morning, we got to work.  All the sheep were scored with the FAMACHA card and treated.  The adults went out the side door and back the moving lane into fresh pasture behind the house.  Liam and Strider have such pleasant personalities that we left them in with the ewes for the next couple weeks.  The lambs went out through the corral and out a moving lane into the graveyard field where hay had been made a couple weeks ago. 
After a late lunch and a brief rest, we headed back to the barn to finish taking down the temporary fencing for the moving lanes.  A rapid change of plans had to be made as the lambs had torn down a corner of their fencing and had moved into the pen with Poseidon and Aragorn, our two biggest rams.  There they were bunched up in the corner closest to the barn bawling for their mamas.  We set to work repairing and moving fencing, and, of course, by the time we were done they had scattered and were happily munching poison ivy leaves off the locust tree trunks.  Finally after much coaxing and gentle herding (all the while trying very hard not to attract the attention of the rams) we got (what we thought) was everybody moved back.  On the walk back to the barn we heard a lamb echoing down over the hill.  Of course it turned out not to be an echo, but 6 or 7 lambs down below the rams.  Luckily they had meandered back up to the top closer to the other lambs and we were able to coax them over the next morning.
The ewes spent that evening and the next day wandering from one end of their paddock to the other looking for their lambs, calling them all the while.  That always pulls at our heartstrings.  Everybody has now settled in nicely and things are much calmer… and much quieter.


All the snow is gone, except for a few spots on the most northern facing hillsides.  The perfect time to break up the breeding groups and get everybody into winter pasture.  Poseidon and Aragorn have been moved to the back pasture.  We debated whether to keep them closer to the barn, but when they are back here we don’t have to worry about them getting out if the snow gets deep.   We followed our usual routine and after about twenty minutes to rambunctious head-butting and neck wrestling, they have settled in nicely.

We moved Liam, our almost eight-year-old ram, and Strider, the hogget ram, in with the ewes in the barn paddock.  Liam is not the strongest ram in the field any longer, but refuses to back down from the others.  So we have him at the barn where we can spoil him with the occasional carrot.  Strider is so much smaller than Poseidon and Aragorn, we kept him at the barn so he can grow out properly.  So far they have done not much more than sniff each other in passing…. with fingers crossed, we’re hoping this continues.

Oddly enough, it has been Jack, one of the wethers, that has been most concerned with Strider’s presence.  Anytime he sees Strider persuing one of the ewes, he comes flying just as fast as his plump body can move.  As you can see above, this has not been the best of things for Strider’s self esteem.  It has not done much for Jack’s either as he is neither as fast nor as nimble as the hogget, and at times ends up on the ground in an embarassed heap.  He slowly rights himself and looks around sheepishly, hoping that none of the girls were watching. 

So, we are finally all set for winter weather.  Hopefully there are plenty of beautiful lambs now growing inside these wooly bodies.  The girls are re-establishing their pecking order, and settling in nicely. 

And, as you can see, this all has the Princess Seal of Approval.