Tuesday, February 12, 2008

First Lamb of the Season Video!

I knew two ewes were close to giving birth the past several days. This morning we were presented with a cute little ewe lamb, and mother and child are doing well. It figures that they would choose one of the coldest days of the year. That always seems to be the way it goes. This is the latest we have ever had our first lamb of the season. I guess Albert, our newest ram (see header photo), took awhile to get the hang of things.

Now the next ewe that looks like she is about to go will be the one to watch. The first year she had a lamb, she rejected it. And while you readers not involved in farming may think bottle babies are fun and cute, they aren't after the first 3am feed in sub zero temperatures! It is also very expensive and the milk replacer does not mix with water very well. It's generally a pain in the rear although you do end up with an incredibly tame lamb. The second year she lambed she was all set to reject the lamb again. This was last year. I was determined that it would not happen again so I spent the entire day with her and her lamb, holding her so the lamb could nurse. It was very tedious, and tiring but it was worth it because by the next day she was allowing her lamb to nurse and all was well. So this year I will be anxiously waiting to see what happens. In all probability, things will be fine as she knows the routine now. In fact we still have her daughter from last year. They both have the finest fleeces of the bunch. Mom has the moorit brown, incredibly soft fleece. Daughter has very dark brown, almost black, very soft fleece. In the video below you see Albert's fleece is popping out of the hole in his jacket. I can't wait to get my hands on that fleece come shearing time!

And guess what happened again when I fed the sheep? I got launched, only this time my boot somehow got caught under the neck of one of the sheep coats and my foot was stuck tight because the coat somehow twisted when I fell. Had the ewe moved quickly in any direction my ankle might have snapped because it was lodged in there so tightly, and I had to take my boot off to extract my leg which I wasted no time doing. What saved me was the fact that her head was nose deep in food. How does this stuff happen!? I rarely trip over my sheep and it happens twice in a short period of time? Plus it was the same ankle I recently broke.

Now the pregnant and lactating ewes need a constant supply of water. If you are wondering how we keep the water from freezing you can see in the photo that we insert an electric element that heats up and prevents freezing. Also notice that rather than spending a small fortune on a water trough, we simply cut a 50 gallon plastic drum in half. It works great and was free.

Will you all help me with lamb names? In the past we have gone with a theme. Godfather characters one year. Harry Potter the next. What kind of names can you think up?