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.

Weaning Day

The lambs seldom nurse and have become much more independent; some days spending more time with other lambs than with their mamas.  All of the lambs are now over 60 days old.  Those precious moments between mama and lamb are over until next spring.  It’s weaning day.  Each lamb is weighed and given advice ~ “Be brave.”  “Be strong.”  “Don’t let the bigger lambs pick on you.”
“Don’t worry,” we tell the mamas, “we’ll take good care of your little ones.  We love them too.” 
As always, barncat Davita is right in the middle of all the action, doing her best to help with the record keeping.  One by one we work our way through the lambs and ewes.  The ewes out the side door and in to a moving lane, going to the pasture by the knoll.  The lambs will go out through the corral and on to the graveyard field.  There are two paddocks and four fences in between them.  Even so the next couple days are full of separation anxiety and they can be quite determined to get back together. 
It is a bittersweet day, but new friendships will be formed, old alliances will be re-kindled.  In a few days… all will, once again, be quiet in the pasture.

Settling In

The lambs are doing well in their new pasture.  Only one breakout – the first night – when they went either through or over a portion of the fence.  A double fence has been put in that corner now.  They have quieted down and are falling into the morning and evening routine of coming for a little corn and oats and the counting of the lambs.  Only one moment of panic so far when 14 of them hid in the shelter at the bottom of the hill; which, of course, was the last place we looked for them.  We will bring them back to the barn on Saturday to do a FAMACHA check and check their condition.

The ewes have also settled down and are enjoying their (well deserved) rest and relaxation in the back pasture.

Weaning Day

We weaned the lambs on Monday.  We did FAMACHA tests on all the lambs and ewes, and weighed all the lambs.  Only two lambs were somewhat pale but we gave all of them wormer because of the stress of weaning.  We only had to worm a couple of the ewes.  A great improvement over last year *knocks on wood*. 
As always, we had a lot of help… Erma insisted on coming in with the sheep and helped with inspection.

Spot and Muffy helped move watering troughs.

The ewes went out one door into a paddock and moving lane,

and the lambs went out another into the corral and then on to the graveyard field which hasn’t been occupied since early spring.   The ewes were moved in the evening because another task awaited us.

After lunch we hit the field and made 586 bales of hay.  We are over 1,400 bales and not quite finished.  It has been a good year for hay.  We probably won’t have to buy any this year if the 2nd cutting is as good as the 1st.

A very hot, long day but very productive… think we are still recuperating.

Lambs Wool

Cassidy’s girl

Lucy’s girls

The lambs are growing beautifully *knocks on wood* although looking a little bedraggled from all the storms we have had.  Weaning is on the schedule for early Monday morning.  It is always a big day for everyone.  The lambs always seem to develop more of their own personalities after moving in to their own pasture. 
As you can see in the picture below, their wool is also becoming quite lovely.  We are really looking forward to a wonderful wool crop come fall.

beautiful locks – click – to make bigger

Weaning Day

Saturday was weaning day… a day full of lots of noise and confusion.  All the ewes’ body conditions were checked, they were scored using the FAMACHA system, then put out the side door and into the paddock below the barn.  The lambs were weighed, scored with FAMACHA and kept in the barn until, in a grand exodus, we made our way to the graveyard field. 

By Sunday morning, about half the lambs had adjusted well and were moving about the field without a care in the world.  However the other half were doing a whole lot of what really can only be described as pouting.

In a few days the lambs will, once again, become quite frisky.  There will be plenty of cavorting and romping.  They will have developed new friendships and be having a grand time.   Lambs will be… lambs.

Weaning Day

Saturday was weaning day – 28 beautiful lambs weaned and moved to the graveyard field. The pasture is growing nicely following our hay harvest. We did FAMACHA tests, weighed and then wormed all the lambs because last year we found that we had a huge spike in worm load in the week following weaning. We are trying to get a little jump on the worms this year, so we also wormed the ewes that scored a three this time. We kept the ewes and yearlings in the barn pasture since we are going to check everyone in a week instead of our usual two week schedule.

It was a very noisy weekend but everyone has pretty much adjusted now.

And the Weanees Are…

We decided it was about time Miss Juliet (aka bottle baby) moved into a ‘big girl’ pasture with some new friends. So the oldest happy accident lambs became the first weanees of the season.

little Mr. 901, twin

little Mr. 902, twin

little Mr. 903, twin

little Mr. 904, twin

Mr. 905

Miss Lucy

So far everyone is getting along great. The lambs do not seem to be too upset about leaving their mamas. The mamas however are a different story, especially one Miss Curly who misses her little Lucy very much.

Weaning Day

Weaning day has arrived! We did our bi-weekly ‘FAMACHA and worm if needed’ routine and weighed all the lambs. Weights ranged from 60 lbs for some of the smaller twins to 102 lbs for Feisty’s big single bruiser (Wensleydale-Coopworth-Lincoln cross).

We separated the lambs from the ewes. Snostorm was not too happy about us moving his lambs to a new paddock. He is standing guard and shaking his head most emphatically, “No!”

We moved the ewes five small paddocks away, but it was still a very noisy day. Many of them spent their time waiting by the fence and complaining loudly.

After a noisy, stressful night everyone should adjust and calm down tomorrow. Ahhh, peace and quiet to look forward to.