Lambing 2016 is only 4 days away! After the freezing cold lambing season of last year, we made the decision to turn our buck out later and have March lambs. Based on breeding dates, is March 11th, though it could start sooner. We have spent the last few days getting the barn ready for the impending Lambegedon.
Due March 11th are Downy, Bossy, Bixler's Girlfriend, 11, 22, 21, and 19.
Below on the left is 21, this will be her first time lambing, she is really starting to fill out in her stomach area. To the right is Blerta, she is due March 16th.
Jesse used the nice warm weather this past Sunday to clean out an area in the barn where we will build lambing pens.
I spend my twilight hours evaluating the rear ends of the girls, might they lamb tonight, or are there a few days yet?
I have also upgraded my technology. Last year I put a poor farmer's Closed Circuit TV in our barn, (it's a baby monitor I bought at Walmart). This year I purchased a newer model that has two cameras and improved visibility (I also have the option to play lullaby's to the sheep). Now all we have to do is wait for nature......
My little one is always wanting to help. She is finally getting old enough to take care of this chore by herself.
This past Friday Jesse and Alice went to a "back to farm auction" in hopes of picking up some new sheep. Jesse was brave taking a two year old to a livestock auction, but it was a successful night. The next morning we were ready to welcome the sheep to the barn.
Alice wore an appropriate barn outfit....... don't argue with a toddler when they pick out their clothes. (If you look close, you can see her shoes are on the wrong feet!)
I peered into the trailer to find these three cuties looking back at me. These are Suffolk ewes, they were all born in January 2015, and have been with a buck for the past few months. They are potentially bred with an unknown lambing date..... Have I even mentioned how much I LOVE surprises?
Suffolk sheep have an all black "smooth" face. Our last buck was a Hampshire, and his offspring have a bit more wool on their face, we refer to them as The Fuzzies. Below is 22, a 2014 Fuzzy.
The weather has finally cleared up and allowed us to get hay made.
Everybody at the farm likes to watch hay being made.
Friends, their children, and our daughter....
But mostly the dog.
Every spring our sheep are in need of a trimming. This year was no exception.
Bossy is looking huge, she probably has 4-5 inches of wool on her.
The sheep start looking straggly and a mess as some of the wool begins to be pulled out.
In the past we have done the shearing ourselves. But it is time consuming, and to be honest we are not quite the best at it. This year we decided to hire a local shearer, what would have taken us a weekend of work took him about two hours. It was great to have a professional come as he was willing to help teach Jesse how to shear quickly and even fixed our trimmers.
I was at my day job when the shearing occurred so I only have before and after pictures, no action shots.
This is Sweet Pea, looking a little ragged.
Mini Mumps, feeling good after her haircut. The sheep appear so much smaller after their giant coats are taken off.
Bixler's Girlfriend enjoying the wind on her skin.
When new babies arrive there is always a lack of sleep. Two years ago my little one was born and some days I would wake up planning my nap for that day.
The past few years with lambing have been very similar to having a newborn human. I would wake up every two hours, walk out of the barn, shine a flashlight on all the sheep and either a) finding nothing and drag myself back to bed OR b) see feet/a lamb and go running to the house to wake Jesse.
This year I had a different plan of attack.
This weekend we started fencing in a new pasture.
Currently our property only has three fenced acres of pasture. As we grow our herd we need more acres to provide high nutrient, dense pasture to the sheep. When completed this will add another eight fenced acres. We hope to have this completed before the end of the month when we turn the sheep out for the first time for 2015.
Marking where the posts will go.
A little progress at the end of the day.
The other night a ewe lambed a set of twins and she did not want her babies. This is our first experience with a mother completely rejecting her lambs. After they were born she would not sniff them or even begin to clean them, she walked away without a second glance. With the below freezing temperatures that night we needed to bring them in the house before their body temperatures dropped too much.
Bixler has always wanted to help with the lambs. When one has to come in he is anxious to help clean, these twins provided him with more than enough opportunity.
The countdown is on, 14 days until lambing season 2015.
With the unseasonal warm weather and sunshine we took the opportunity to clean out the barn and put clean straw in for the sheep and their upcoming babies.
After getting the barn cleared of all the fall/winter bedding and manure we prepared to shake out the new straw.
Mini Mumps, waiting for the release into the fresh bedding. This will be her first lambing season; she is due February 24th.
The farm life and having a toddler doesn't allow me and the husband many "date nights". But what we do get are farm dates, during the baby's afternoon nap we head out to the barn and work the sheep.
This past weekend marks the beginning of the 6 week countdown until we start lambing. There is a lot to get done before our barn will be ready for bouncing lambs. The first item is the gather the ewes, check their health, hooves, weight gain and give them their yearly vaccinations. The vaccinations help prevent a number of diseases including tetanus, and giving the shots now allows antibodies to build up in the colostrum to be passed to the lambs during their first feeding shortly after birth.
This past Sunday the weather warmed from below 0 to the mid-40s, giving us a peep at spring, and little break from frozen winter chores.
The seaman tells stories of winds, the ploughman of