lambs

Yesterday I weighed all the lambs for their 120 day weight submissions. And, I weaned the rest of them. The intact ram lambs (eleven of them, for now) were weaned a month ago, at ninety days. I don’t trust having them in with the adult ewes any longer, because they can sometimes be fertile that early, and mature ewes can sometimes go back into heat that early.

This week it was time for the wethers and ewelambs to wean. It works so much better for me to wait until the lambs are four months old- the ewes’ udders are significantly diminished in size by now, so they dry up more comfortably, and with less risk of mastitis. I imagine it gives the lambs a tiny boost in growth, too, though I don’t think it’s significant. It’s also one more month I only have to manage one mob, plus a small group of rams. Starting now, I have to juggle three groups for about a month. After that, I’ll have the flexibility to graze the adult ewes with the ewelambs and wethers again, if I want.

EwesI usually fence line wean, so the lambs can see their mamas, they just can’t nurse. I think this is a little less stressful, since they don’t have to be fearful of being away from their mothers completely. But, oh, do they complain! For a whole day, there is mournful whining and demanding, and fence pacing. The mothers mostly ignore it on the first day, figuring, “you’re old enough now, you know where to find me.” By the second day, the lambs have mostly come to grips with the situation and get back to grazing. But, then, the mothers start calling to them, I think because their udders feel uncomfortably full. By day three, usually everyone has adjusted to the new reality, and all is quiet again.

Across the street from us is one of those outdoor wedding venues. And, last evening there was a celebration out on the manicured lawn, white tablecloths and all. The warm night air was filled with a little disco, chitchat, laughter, and…. fifty bellerin’ lambs! Open-mouthed smileAt least from the noise level we experienced in our living room, I’m pretty sure the lambs were emitting more decibels than the DJ. I guess that’s the risk you take when choosing a rural wedding venue; you never know what farm activity de jour might be going on in the vicinity!

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