LambBucket So first, kitchen lamb is back in the kitchen as of last Sunday night. His mother decided she didn’t want him and stopped letting him nurse. Grr. She was such an excellent mother to triplets last year, and has six year’s experience; so she’s the last one I would expect to reject a lamb. Maybe it was too confusing with the jacket, then no jacket, and him being in and out of the house and licked all over by dogs. Or, maybe she’s just being a bad mother. I’ll give her another year here since she’s a productive ewe. But her score with me has dropped considerably!

Luckily for kitchen lamb, he seems to have weathered the flaky three days of inconsistent feedings, is gaining weight now, and apparently is no worse for wear.

I went back to work this week (that’s another story), so my parents and Kirk filled in with bottle feedings until I got him switched onto “the bucket”. He was really fighting it at first, but then the light bulb just went on, and by Wednesday, he was drinking reliably on his own. That makes their care considerably easier, as I can just refill the bucket once daily and let him self-regulate his food; as compared to the every-four-hours bottle feedings (day and night) that newborns require.

Here are the stats of my lambing this year. It went pretty well, overall.

16 ewes: 9 of them yearlings
32 lambs born, 1 stillborn, 1 rejected orphan; 31 surviving
(200% conceived & carried to term, 194% crop not-yet-weaned)
3 sets of triplets, 9 sets of twins, 4 singles
Average birth weight: 8.02, with a range of 5 lbs 10 oz to 12 lbs 6 oz
Average gestation time: 146.3 days, with a range of 143 to 151 days

The major thing I was displeased about was the low birth weights of a few of the lambs from yearling ewes. Part of this may be their shorter gestations (all lambs of concerning size were born on gestation days 143-145, fairly early), and part genetics. And maybe part nutrition, if the ewes are not as good at competing for grain in late pregnancy. I’m not set up to feed different groups of ewes separately, but it’s definitely something worth considering for the future. For now, I’ll probably try to select and keep the bigger-lambing ewes, and also cut down on the percentage of maiden ewes I breed, so there are fewer who need “hovering” from me.

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