Here is an update of some of our lambs.
Her is 22's baby girl buried in her hay, this face is begging to be snuggled.
We choose to individually separate all the mothers and lambs for at least the first week post lambing. We do this for a few reasons. First, it is much easier for a mother to get her lambs the proper milk intake if they do not have to walk all over the larger pen to get grain, hay and water. When I first had my daughter and we were working on our nursing skills I really didn't move much from the couch, my focus was getting the hang of keeping a baby alive with just my body. We provide the same concept for the ewes, only without the couch. Putting the mothers in separate pens also allows up to monitor their health at a closer level. I can tell how much each ewe has drank or hay she has eaten, if she is starting to feel off I can identify it much quicker. If there is a sick lamb they are much easier to identify, grab and treat.
Remember our first female lamb of the season? She is still adorably cute and growing.
Here she is learning how to eat grain from her mother, 19. I am going to have to think of a name for her, open to suggestions!
The triplets are growing quite well. It appears that we will be able to keep them all with their mother.
There are nine or so ewes yet to lamb, come cute babies to come!
21 had her baby the other day while we turned our backs.
He is another almost all white lamb, the second one this season to look this way.
He has the most unique markings on his face. It looks like he has a mustache and that someone has painted horns between his eyes and ears.
At the right angle he reminds me of a Dias de Los Muertos skull.
It will be very interesting to see what the markings look like after his wool comes in.
Here are 22 (daughter of 4 and Gaston) and her new single female lamb. She was born late at night/early in the morning, depending on how you look at it.
The other day while we were both at work Bixler's Girlfriend gave birth to triplets. She must feel so much.... lighter.
Bixler's Girlfriend is one of our best mothers, often helping her sister Sweet Pea tend to her lambs. At first when we found her with three babies we thought perhaps she stole from another mother. After investigation we found that no one else had lambed, confirming she really did have triplets. Based on her mothering history I am really not concerned that she will be able to juggle three different lambs. So far, she has not proven me wrong and has been taking great care of getting all three off to a good start.
The group had two males and one female.
It is not easy to get all of them in one shot. Below, they are just a few hours old, just learning how to walk.
The look of a happy lamb.
We will need to keep a close eye on the growth of the lambs for a few days. Bixler's Girlfriend will need extra calories in order to support the increased milk production needed to feed triplets. If one of the lambs is not growing at the same rate as the other two we will need to decide which lamb to pull off and start bottle feeding. It would seem that pulling the smallest lamb off would be best, but we would prefer to pull off the largest lamb. A small, weak lamb would benefit more from on demand nursing with the mother, while a larger, strong lamb can better handle the time between bottle feedings. Hopefully we will not need to get out the bottles this year.
Who doesn't love hour old baby lambs?
Early Sunday I went to the barn for morning checks to find a baby lamb outside the main sheep pen. He had rolled out under the gate and was separated from his mother. Inside the large pen was an upset mother and a twin lamb.
19 (daughter of Sweet Pea) had birthed the lambs sometime in the early hours of the morning and luckily had strong mothering instincts. By the time I got out there she had the lambs cleaned, dried off, and nursed. This is 19's first lambing season and she has produced possibly the cutest lamb I have ever seen.
I can not get enough of this little female lamb who is more white than black. Her brother is what we have traditionally seen for color. I love how her white comes down her ears and across her face almost to her nose. I think she looks like a Holstein calf.
Bixler, our dog, is always a little meticulous with the lambs and wants to make sure they are as clean as possible. Here you can see a little more of the white markings on the female's chin.
Our 2016 has officially started. I can only hope the rest goes as smoothly.
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......
It is the ram's favorite time of year at Whinmont Farm: Breeding Season.
This is Erik our ram. He is a Suffolk ram with a mild disposition who loves to have his ears rubbed. He has eagerly been awaiting mid-October.
Sheep are short day breeders. Which means the ewes will come into heat as the daylight gets shorter each day. We choose to breed our sheep later in the fall than most farmers. The majority of farms will turn their rams out with the ewes in August or September. This would result in January or February lambs. I am not a fan of lambing in the middle of winter and this leads us to turning our ram out in the middle of October.
The ewes have been very interested in Erik recently as some have already come into heat. There is a lot of longing stares between the two pens.
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.
Our 2015 lambing season has started out strong. Four ewes have birthed 6 healthy lambs, two singles and two sets of twins. I stepped out into the barn the other day to TRY and get some pictures to share.
This is our first lamb born this year. A healthy ram lamb born to Mini Mumps, her first time lambing. She had the lamb all by herself. He is a VERY big lamb and loves jumping on his mom's back.
Last night the thermometer was reading -16 F. This little guy got too cold to nurse and had to be brought back into the house, warmed up and fed. When it is this cold lambs use a large amount of energy to stay warm and need to feed often to keep that energy up. This 5 hour old lamb needed a little assistance to get a good start. Before bed he was able to go back to his mother and twin brother. He was doing great this morning despite the bitter cold temperatures.
Lambing season 2015 has begun and it is going to be a cold one.
It is totally normal to have a lamb in your guest room, right?
The seaman tells stories of winds, the ploughman of