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Lambing is almost over here, I have one late ewe left to deliver whom I think is due next weekend. Total count so far is 64 lambs, which is low, but not terrible. I have eight open ewes, six of which are yearlings. So now it’s time to pour over data and start making decisions about which sheep to keep, sell, and cull; as well as decisions about management changes for next year.

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Well, lambing season is (mostly) over, here are the results of my year thus far.

The good

The season was extremely easy. Other than the one dystocia instance, almost every other ewe lambed without intervention. The birth rate was really even, with one or two ewes lambing each day. For the most part, I didn’t have to lift a finger. I just strolled out when each ewe was done lambing, and weighed and tagged the lambs. I pulled a couple of lambs where it just happened that I was there, the labor had gone on a while, and I thought it best. But all of them pulled easily and probably would have delivered fine on their own if I hadn’t been there.

I slept through the night every night. Ahhhh.

The lambs were very vigorous, all immediately getting up on their feet and nursing on their own. I helped out two sets of triplets with some supplemental bottle feeding.

Birth weights looked good, just from my general observation. I have yet to graph them to see how they compared overall to previous years. 

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BottleLambsThis year, I had the opportunity to use raw cow’s milk for my homemade milk replacer recipe, rather than store-bought milk or powdered milk replacer. The lambs did extremely well on it. My impression was that they grew better than bottle lambs from all past years; so I wanted to graph it and see if it was true.

It was!

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First of all, apologies to our friends to the East, who have this:

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Here in the Pacific Northwest, things look a little different. About this time of year, Mother Nature says, Ding! Your grass is ready to eat!

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imageAnother class I enjoyed at last week’s Focus on Farming conference was one taught by David Capocci, who owns Paca Pride Guest Ranch in Arlington- a small alpaca farm and camping destination. David talked about his experimentation with sprouted grains as fodder. David is an engineer and farmer- right up my alley! Smile

A while back, I had attended a class somewhere, where a pastured pork farmer talked about purchasing a turnkey trailer system which could grow large volumes of sprouted seed fodder for livestock. It sounded really cool, except for the price tag- around $30K! David wondered if he could do something like that with simple plastic grow trays on a wooden bookshelf with a light bulb and a basic water pump on a timer. And proved that yes, you can! No fancy trailer required!

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