June 2, 2013
I ran across this recent publication Low Input Lambing and Kidding, by Cornell University and found it to be really refreshing reading. It had my keen interest from the introductory paragraph describing one impetus for the study:
During a recent sabbatical in New Zealand, Dr. Michael Thonney, who is director of the Cornell Sheep Program, had been intrigued by the relaxed attitude lambing of New Zealand pasture based farmers toward lambing.
It goes on to say that their Extension program gets a lot of inquires from experienced sheep and goat farmers who are not seeking help with the day-to-day basics of small ruminant husbandry, but rather, how to make it be less labor-intensive. This white paper is an attempt to offer advice on that subject, based on a small study.
May 12, 2013
Here are my lamb counts for the year. I had forty ewes overwintered here. One was a late summer-born ewe, so I suspected she may not breed, and she didn’t. That’s ok. Of the remaining 39, six are not pregnant, as confirmed by recent blood tests. Five of those are ewelambs. The sixth is my Jacob cross ewe, who is two; I don’t know why she didn’t conceive. So, she will have to go this year.
May 11, 2013
I’ve had several cases of frothy bloat crop up this year. The interesting thing is that it’s appearing in regular ol’ lambs nursing on their mothers, at the age of 3-4 weeks, when they are just starting to transition to real ruminating. I’m used to seeing it in bottle lambs trained to drink of the “milk bar” bucket. They are prone to bloat because of their gorging habit when the bucket is re-filled with milk. But I’ve never seen it before in regular, non-grain-fed lambs, and I can’t find any documentation to explain it.
April 22, 2013
Just as the craziness settled down from the first wave of lambing, there was a second wave of inconveniences. The first set of ewes in the barn for various monitoring reasons was able to go back outside. Then a new set needed to come in.
April 11, 2013
Lambing is quieting down, though there are still fifteen ewes which have yet to deliver.