PeptoBismolMouth

By the end of lambing last year, I was so sick of lambs and midnight checks and a million trips down to the pasture. I was soooo glad to see the last two sets be born, tagged, and nursing. But of course, you forget about all the work and sleep lost; and the anticipation of seeing the results of breeding choices, all that planning, careful feeding, and five months of waiting starts to take hold by now. Plus, I am ready for spring, green grass, less mud, and more daylight. Lambing starts here on March 15th; I planned it to coincide with the beginning of daylight savings so I can see better in the evenings.

The above-pictured lamb was the firstborn last year, she came several days early, born to the only ewe that never got marked by a ram. So she surprised me. In the picture, she has pink Pepto Bismol stains on her lips. All of the single lambs had diarrhea from too much and too rich milk in their first days, and needed a little intervention to settle that down. This year I may try to be more faithful about milking out those ewes to prevent that, and also to bank more milk in the freezer for bummer lambs.

The bond between mama and baby is always so evident.

Panda

As is the bond between siblings who shared a womb for five months.

BroAndSis2

Except for these guys. I called them the “band of brothers.” Triplet-born boys, they got an extra dose of testosterone or something. They were always spread out and on the move, ignoring their mother from day one, and they grew like crazy. They were very special rams, and all three went to breeding homes. I so wanted to keep one for myself, but it didn’t fit with my plans. Maybe I’ll get a repeat this year to tempt me again.

3Bros

And then, there was Kitchen Lamb. Having a real live lamb in the kitchen was a mixture of torture and ecstasy for the collies. You can see it in the whites of Maggie’s eyes, there is a 10% desire to nurture this baby thing, and a 90% desire to shake it like a shark dispatching prey. The 90% kept in check only by my stern warning and prior experience with the consequences of getting caught inappropriately gripping livestock. Winking smile

MaggieAndKitchenLamb

I have 29 pregnant ewes, about half of them maidens, which will make for an exciting lambing season, I’m sure. The new mothers need some supervision to make sure they are successful, and their lambs are typically small, so more vulnerable to the cold. I expect in the neighborhood of sixty lambs. Some of the maidens will single, but several of the mature girls are sure to triplet, so it seems to even out. My ewes were really flush last fall from the summer grass, and are starting to look big already with more than two months left to go; so maybe we’ll even see some quads.

I have my equipment order in, and soon will get a big box of ear tags, milk replacer, and lambing supplies. I’ve had such bad luck with the banding method of castration, of having one testicle left behind, that I’ve invested in an emasculator for this year. It crushes the spermatic cords; and promises to be easier, safer, and more reliable than banding. 

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