33Daughter I haven’t said much about the lamb crop lately, so I thought I’d take some pictures showing how they are growing. It’s amazing how quickly they go from cute to almost grown up. The lambs are nearly four months old, some of them will be ready for butcher in sixty more days! Above is KMC0905 with her single ewelamb out of KMC0900.

I had good luck this year, no mortality, other than one stillborn lamb. My 194% lamb crop rate held to weaning age. They all look good, and I’m happy with the growth and weight of almost all of them. The ones that were small at birth are still small, but they are in good weight proportionally, so probably just need more time.

Ewes

Here is a tour of the ewe pasture. The lambs here are all ewes or wethers, the ram lambs are sequestered in another pasture to prevent accidental breedings. In the above photo, many of them are still enjoying their afternoon snooze, while some are reviving to begin their evening grazing. Ruminants spend a lot of time just laying around chewing their cud! It’s a full time job converting grass into energy. StumpyAndLambs

The above picture  is somewhat of a family portrait. Laying down is HHS107. She is a recorded 75% Katahdin, as her maternal grandmother was a White Dorper. Her face really looks like a Dorper, doesn’t it? I really like this ewe, she is one of my nicest. On the far right is her 2009 daughter, KMC0906 (buckskin color). She had a ram lamb last year as well, her first lambing as a two year old. The two lambs standing next to 906 are her twin ewelambs. To the left are 107’s ewelambs from this year, the white one standing and the buckskin one laying down. She also had a ram lamb who is in the other field.

RamLambMaybe

The above is either KMC0028 or 29, out of KRK33. He’s supposed to be a wether. Note to self: check my castration job on this fellow asap. See his little lip curl after smelling the urine of the ewe next to him? Hmmm, maybe I missed one….

I’m not sure I’m happy with my breeding choice of pairing the Montana ewes with Hershey, that may not have been a good nick. In retrospect, I realize that those ewes were bred just a month or so after their long trip; so it’s possible they haven’t had time to develop strong immunity to our local microbes and pass it on to their lambs. Not to mention that was two stressors back-to-back. I don’t think their lambs are as nice as what else I got or are thriving quite as well. I’m going to pair them with a different ram next year for comparison. Pinto1

Here is the single ewelamb out of ADS0065 and Hershey. I like her fine, she is the best of the five Montana lambs born. But her mother is still quite thin, and I’m frustrated with that. I’m going to try worming her with a different drug, and run her on a course of antibiotics. I don’t know what else to do with her! I’m not keen on trying to feed her something special to put weight back on her, because it would be a logistic hassle to separate her from the flock. And I want her to prove herself on grass. But if I can’t get her back into condition in the next couple of months, she will not be suitable for breeding in the fall and I guess I’ll have to slaughter her. Since I went through all the trouble of bringing in these out-of-state ewes, I’m loathe to write her off so quickly and will try a few more things.

ADS0061Here is ADS0061 (right) with her dark ewelamb. She also had a white ram lamb (below). These ewes definitely brought the extra height I was hoping for, all of their lambs are tall. But their legs were very spindly when they were younger, giving them kind of a willow-ey, deer-like appearance. It’s not my favorite look, I’d prefer sturdier legs, just because I think they contribute to scale weight as well as visual impression of a meat animal. They are filling out more now, so maybe it was just a stage. KMC0022 The ram lamb, above, may turn out well, but so far I don’t like him as well as my other ram lambs, and he is thinner than the rest. I took this photo several weeks ago, but see how he has this sort of big-rumen, skinny-legs appearance? It could be that some of these tall lambs just take a while to grow into their legs, whereas my shorter-legged traditional Katahdin stock all look more stocky. I left him intact with the intention of selling him to someone who may want these genetics in a flock sire; but I’m undecided on his future, just waiting to see how he develops.

FattyHere is ADS0065, with her head cut out of the frame. I call her fatty, because she carries a lot of condition and her rear end kind of jiggles like a bowl of jelly when she walks. 😀 I have to imagine if she were slaughtered, she’d weigh-in impressively, but a lot of fat would dress off of her. But fat is good in a momma. 🙂 She had triplets, one stillborn. Her ram lamb was at the bottom of the pack in 60 day weights, just above the orphan-reared wether and below all the ewes too. So though I’d originally kept him intact intending to sell him as a sire, I castrated him right after I weighed him! Her ewelamb on the right is also looking nicer as she matures a little more.

Maybe I’ll end up liking them all in the end, they are just very different from the rest of my flock. Someone came out recently to view the sheep and said, wow, you sure have a lot of different body types here! It’s true, especially with the addition of the Montana ladies. But, I like that diversity to some extent. The show mentality can get too fixated on type, and striving to make cookie-cutter animals. If you are breeding more for meat traits and ignoring “style” you might get more sheep that don’t “match” appearance-wise. But what’s important is that they are consistent in productivity characteristics, which are not always apparent to the eye.

Pinto2 Here is one of my prize babies from this year. She is out of JPS60224, another ewe I bought at the sale last fall. She was second in 60 day weights. Second to her twin brother, who was #1. And she was above all the rest of the ram lambs! Her coloring is pretty wild, her feet and ears have black spots mottled in with the brown. There is such a demand for fancy colors, I’m disappointed these markings didn’t turn up on a ewe that I could sell. But there is no way I’m parting with this girl’s big ol’ slab-of-meat body! 

Below is her bro, I’m retaining him as a replacement for Hershey, who is getting old.

Socks

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