Sunday, March 29, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly

Good Sunday morning friends. Last night was a no-lamb night but nevertheless I did get up and check on the ewes 3-4 times in the ever-blowing, never-ending wind we're having. Whew, it was a cold one, let me tell you. Had a set of twins right before bedtime and had them under a heat lamp with coats on in the back of the shed.

Night before last, the vet was out at 2:30 a.m. to deliver a dead lamb and a live lamb out of one of our best ewes. She was in labor for a long time and we tried and tried to sort out the lambs but this was meant for a professional and even he had troubles getting them out. We're actually pretty good at getting malpositioned lambs out so when it's too tough for us, it's just a plain mess.

So, lost one lamb so far, have 30 lambs out there and we're about halfway through our lambing. We've trimmed feet on the ewes as they leave the jugs/pens, lambs are vaccinated with the selenium booster, tagged and banded for tails or castration or both. We take off their coats and they are out to the blending pens to get used to sticking with their mothers in a small group before they go out with the larger group.

Yesterday I took 3 naps! Today is also a day of rest although we're out checking on ewes at regular intervals. Another week and we might be done! I'll get some more pictures soon.

Happy trails! Jami

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Looong night but 2 sets of triplets!

Well, we had a long night with 2 sets of triplets and a set of twins born in this nasty, putrid, hateful, exasperating cold WIND. Can you tell I'm growing tired of it? LOL. The lambs get chilled quickly and that essential colostrum is so important to get into them. I made those lamb coats this year and they are working out nicely with the cold weather. We try not to use heat lamps much but I do have one setup for the triplets that were born in the wee hours this morning.

I went out to check on the ewes and here under the shelter in the alleyway were a bunch of ewes trying to stay out of the cold wind plus 3 lambs in their midst. Two ewes were licking the lambs but only one was the mother...poor Selma, one of my best ewes, has not lambed yet but she had decided one must be hers! She has been baahhing for "her" baby ever since. I'll be glad when she lambs and she'll figure it out. But there is no way it was hers or anyone else's as I know how to tell.

I do hope you have a great day. The sun is shining....that's a good thing!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Some lambs pics

Here are the pics of lambs so far. We had 2 ewes lamb yesterday, this one with a set of twins and another one with a large single ewe lamb (in the coat at the bottom). Stay tuned!!! Lots more on the way.

First set of twins of 2009, 2 ram lambs.

A big vigorous should see her eat!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Lambs

Well, isn't it appropriate that the first day of spring has brought us our first lambs of 2009! Two ram lambs were born to Alice, or CCS0752, beginning at 4:30 this morning. It's a cold morning of course and the days have been so nice but the babies like to come into this world with odds against them. I guess this makes them tougher? These boys are doing fine so far, got a meal or 2 in them and their little coats on to keep warm and a heat lamp until the sun comes up. One is quite a bit smaller than the other. And so it begins...

I'll be back with pictures after a while. Gotta get ready for work right now.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ewes to the drop pen

Last night we moved the ewes to the drop pen...the maternity ward for sheep. This is a production of sorts as we have to put the guard dog somewhere else. In this case, we put him in with the ram lambs for the time-being. He can't be in with the ewes lambing...just don't trust him that much! We'll let him back in with his girls when the lambs are a couple of weeks old. When moving sheep from pasture to pasture we must also move feeders, water troughs, minerals, portable shelters, water trough heaters, extension cords and so on. Refill the water troughs, move the dog house for the guard dog. It's just a big shift. It's weird not having the ewes out back where I can see them out the window easily. We have a covered shelter with lambing pens or jugs as we call them. The ewes that lamb go into the jugs with their lambs for a couple of days and then are put into a blending pen where we put several ewes with their lambs and then out a back gate to a small pasture with a shelter where they have access to pasture. Of course the pasture is not in yet but I see a few blades of grass trying to grow. It's been so cold but it's supposed to warm up soon. Once we get some good temps the pasture will grow in nicely. Until it's in we are feeding twice a day. The ewes look great. Tomorrow is the first day they are due but we might have a surprise tonight, just never know! We're on "butt" patrol from here on out at regular intervals through the night.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Read with caution, gross farm story

A few ramblings about my week so far....first off, I saw a robin yesterday. Considering we woke up to 3" of new snow and the wind blowing 40 mph this was a surprise. Today the sun was shining DURING a sideways snow...go figure this weather!

Yesterday when the fog lifted I see a ewe, legs up, dead as a door nail. Oh heck, right? Yup...she was due in 2 weeks, full of lambs, very healthy looking but hey, she was dead and that means so were her lambs. The guard dog was helping himself to some real icky stuff along with the magpies. It was a lovely site (not) so first off I got the guard dog out of that pasture and locked the gate. Luckily the rest of the flock was in the shelter with the snow/fog and so I didn't have to herd sheep out. The magpies continued their feast. There was no sign of a coyote kill, no blood or any sort of "fuss." Mystery death. We don't have many of those and we've never lost a ewe like that during pregnancy before.

I called the state vet's office because we're in the scrapie flock certification program and this means when we have an adult ewe die they may opt to test her for scrapie. The vet came and did the "off with her head" thing and sent off samples from her brain, lymph nodes and salivary glands for testing. Yup, that's how they test for scrapie. In case you don't know, scrapie is a disease similar to Mad Cow in cows but it's the sheep version. The USDA has a nationwide program going to eradicate the disease by 2010. We will be a certified scrapie-free flock this summer 2009 which is a 5-year process. We have yearly flock inspections by a state and federal vet and have to keep real tight records on the flock. So, in a few days I'll know the results but the vet said she didn't have any signs of the disease...he just wanted to do samples for their surveillance requirements. The USDA wants more surveillance and testing on sheep but most producers (especially those not in this certification program) don't want the feds or state guys on their place so don't report dead ewes much. I don't blame them but I want our farm to be scrapie free and certified so we've jumped through their hoops. Personal choice. So, I got to see upfront and close how to extricate all sorts of lovelies out of a sheep's head and I tell you it was rather interesting. Once I got over her head being separated from her body and he flipped it over to where I couldn't see her face, the bottom side was pretty interesting with its parts and how he finds them. He did a good job of explaining it to me. I'm sure I told you more than you wanted to know! Sorry. Over and out for now.
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