Skinnybones2There was one birth late last night, I encountered the new ewelamb baby when I went down to check before bed at 11pm. This one has cool pinto markings, with panda eye spots on both eyes.

The mother is this skinny-bones ewe I bought from Montana at the KHSI sale. Well, she wasn’t skinny-bones when I bought her, nor when I bred her in October.  She came with two other ewes from her same flock and the same sire, and the two of them are in good weight. But those were both pretty fat when I brought them home.

I recorded that I scored her at a 3 in December. But she has been losing condition in the last few months, and now I’d only give her a 2. Some people do complicated scoring, with decimals or fractions, but I find that too confusing, and probably subjective. Here’s how I score:

  • 5: lard-butt
  • 4: plump
  • 3: regular
  • 2: scrawny
  • 1: skeletal

This ewe is cheerful, friendly and seems to feel fine, and has a voracious appetite. I’ve been holding a bucket of grain for her during feedings to make sure she’s getting her share, and she’s easily putting back over a pound of grain a day. I imagine she’s dealing with a parasite load or something, but I needed to wait until she lambed to treat her. Now I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to do with her.

In retrospect, I really think that sale was too much of a stressor: the sheep were hauled from several states away, sat in a fairgrounds barn in the heat for several days with a bunch of other strange sheep, and then were transported again to new homes, with new parasites, viruses and immune challenges. So, perhaps the whole ordeal was just too much for some animals. In the future, if I buy sheep from a distance, I’ll make sure their trip is as brief as possible. And I think I’ll proactively shoot them up with antibiotics and wormers when I get them home, even though I normally don’t like to do that kind of thing.

Skinnybones1 This ewe has a long and lean body, so akin to women marathoner-types who barely show pregnancies, this girl stayed svelte while the other ewes grew big. I knew she had been bred, but the only reason I knew she was pregnant was her increasing udder size. I was concerned she’d give birth to some kind of Tinkerbell of a lamb, and not have enough milk. But, no, her lamb was 9lbs 2 oz, and she’s got a gushing udder. Thankfully it was only a single, hopefully she can manage to support the lamb until I can figure out how to get weight back on her.

In the dark as I weighed the lamb and checked her over, the ewe was very worried and agitated, and the llama was really getting into my business! She was cooing over the lamb, and then would make angry Marge Simpson-like harrumphing noises at me for messing with the lamb. I was thinking she might spit at me, she was really starting to sound irritated, but fortunately I finished before things got that far!