Sheep (and llama) Update

DSC04768 Marilyn had a little ram lamb, in the same pattern of most of the other lambs of the season, moorit badger-faced. Marilyn is June’s twin, and too was on probation with us. She had a single ewe lamb two years ago when Kevin and Valerie were farm sitting as we’d gotten sent out of the country for work unexpectedly. (I’m so glad that is over!) Anyway, she abandoned the baby, they couldn’t get her to accept her, despite bringing them both in the house and trying everything they knew, and the lamb died. She wasn’t bred last year, and did great this year. Way to get off probation.

Those two were first time mamas that year, but they had really made me worry about lambing this year, as I had so many first time mothers. But (knock on wood), this lambing season has been relatively painless. Everyone claimed their babies, no assisted births, and only the one triplet that was born stillborn. Whew. I still have three ladies waiting forever, it seems, to lamb, two of the new ones, Gracie and Priscilla, and Baabs, who I really hope isn’t actually pregnant. We really have had the year of the ram lamb, though — 9 boys, 4 girls.

DSC04864 Valerie took the boys to the same fields that she had them in last year. I’ll have to ask her how she found them, but they have about 10 acres that they were losing, and we don’t have enough pasture, so she volunteered our sheep to clear it for them. It works out well for all concerned. After thinking about it, I then decided to put all the mamas who had boys this year, which is almost everyone! down at that field. I am a fan of using Other People’s Pasture, as long as we don’t have enough cleared land here at home.

DSC04789 DSC04825 We’re so going to miss having all the lambs around, but this way I won’t get too attached to the boys who will be going off to freezer camp in the fall. They will all fatten up better on the lush fields, and I’ll keep the four ewe lambs here with their mamas to get really friendly. It’ll be a better number for me to manage here by myself, actually, with all the other stuff we have going on. One thing I won’t miss is the pitter-patter of hooves on those panels we are using for shelters. Oy. All. Night. Long! They are about a half-hour away, fairly close to Valerie’s apartment, though, so she will visit them often, and I’ll go down a couple of times a week.

DSC04931 I’m keeping June with her twin girls and Minx and her twin girls here with me, so I can get their lambs all nice and friendly. It’s going really well with Minx’s two already, especially the one with little horn buds. She’s as friendly as her mama, a little lap sheep already. Since all these girls are destined for the milking parlor, I need them very handleable. I’m keeping Vinnie and her little ram lamb, as he is a candidate for keeping, since he isn’t Sue’s son or grandson, having been sired at Dancing Lamb Farm. Gracie and Priscilla have yet to lamb, so are staying here as well. And writing this, I just realized that we sent Baabs down to the field, and she could be pregnant, so I’ll have to bring her back. I wonder if I can just put her in the back seat of my Audi. (Hey, she is little!)

DSC05046 Valerie came by this morning to help us sort sheep and take them down to the field. It wasn’t as hard as I’d feared. I just moved the black thing I usually put grain on into the trailer (after we got the pigs out — which I will write about soon), and the sheep all piled in. Then we pulled out the ones staying here. Catching lambs wasn’t as bad as previous years because we know what we are doing now. I’m great with the crook, and we mostly just trapped them in shelters. I did manage to cut my ear pretty badly, getting poked by a little horn against something or another. Ow.

DSC05049 DSC05050 They were so happy to be on pasture. I made sure all their bellies were well full of hay before we took them down, so they don’t founder on the new grass. They separated almost immediately into mother-offspring sets. The lambs were leaping, as usual, but I saw many a mama do a jig or two as well. I love seeing them on pasture. It feels so right, so peaceful. I hated to have to come home. Soon, we’ll have enough pasture here, too, I keep telling myself.

DSC05058 Ms. Misty is one unhappy llama. I’m not sure if it is just that we took away over half her herd, or if she is really just missing her sister. (I am, too.) But we heard a sound from her today, almost a whinny, that is heartbreaking. I know she constantly counts heads, and so is understandably upset, but I think it is better for her to stay here with me, rather than send her down to the fields. With the ambiguous “we don’t know why” diagnosis of Mary’s death, I just want her where I can see her. I hope she settles down soon.

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