ShaggyAndLambOur first lamb of the season was born today. By guess who? Shaggy Carpet sheep. So, the mystery of her due date is over. This lamb came a bit early, on day 143 of her gestation (I’m assuming she was bred on the first day with the ram). Different sources cite different gestation ranges for sheep, I’ve seen all the way from 140-159 days. But I think most sources say figure on 148 days, with 4 days leeway in either direction. So I was thinkin’ that tomorrow, day 144, would be the earliest we might see lambs from the ewes bred on the first day. Ya just never know!

It was a single ewelamb, on the small size, at 6 lbs 5 oz. But she’s healthy and vigorous, and Shaggy is doing a good job mothering her. Shaggy is one of the smaller 2009 ewelambs, and youngest. So it’s not entirely surprising that she singled, and had a smallish lamb, she is just a year old herself.

Some people prefer not to breed a yearling ewelamb, instead letting her grow out to full maturity first. There are definitely merits to doing this. But the drawback is that you feed her for a whole extra year before being able to evaluate her productivity traits. And then, if in her second year, she doesn’t get pregnant or is not a good mother, she’s been a bad investment. For me, I value ewes who can show high productivity in their first year, because Katahdins are all about meat production and pounds-per-ewe weaned. With this single, Shaggy has paid for her food this year, and earned consideration for keeping in the flock.

LlamaAndBaby The llama once had a cria, at least one that I know of, and it died of pneumonia (so her former owner told me). She is extremely maternal, and hovers close to newborn lambs. She seemed to want to nuzzle and love on this lamb as much as the ewe! The ewe didn’t seem at all bothered by the llama’s presence or attentions (and this ewe played on the llama’s back when she was  a baby last year). The llama stayed close, the three of them staying separate from the herd all evening. And she hummed at me while I was checking over the lamb, she was very concerned for it!