Friday, February 20, 2015

On Lambing
and lack of sleep....

Maize X Xtra Registered BFL lambs 

     I have a love hate relationship with two things, My Monday and Tuesday work schedule, I hate getting off work later in the day but I love all the extra time I have in the morning to get things done.  And lambing season.  I love love love the little lambs,  I have a strong dislike for the lack of sleep. (yawn) and lambing problems.

     It is a magical time of year barring any lambing problems.  We do not do the lamb in the field lambing.  Our ladies have a maternity ward and are placed in the lambing jugs on a date determined by the ram marker.  Well that is not always accurate (like if he missed on the first try...haha) For me it is worse than waiting for Santa as a child.

     I think the ladies love the maternity ward.  They are waited on hand and foot every need met 24 hours a day, no competition for meals...they each have their own portion.  I like it too. I get to interact with each ewe  on their own instead of just the ones that demand attention all the time!

     So I do middle of the night bed checks...hence the lack of sleep...the time varies as I am at an age in my life where I will wake up at least once in the night...so that is when I pull on various peices of warm clothing (it is no fashion show trust me) and go over..I have to drive over to the barn.  It is a good check when I can climb back into my bed and it is still warm.  I am sleepy, they are sleepy.  Sometimes, it is some of the sweetest moments I have witnessed between the ewes and their lambs, all snuggled together in the warmth of the heat lamps in a little pile, moms baaing softly to their lambs nosing them gently to check on them....sometimes I reach into my bucket of organic berry treats and deliver one to each ewe as a middle of the night snack...

Rhody, a soon to be Registered BFL Ram Lamb out of our Champion Ewe Poppy X McKenna
   Then there are lambing troubles.  So far this year (knock on wood) we are going along well.  Last year was the worst lambing season ever.  We had a ruptured uterus, a ruptured vulva(she had at least four lambs), a ewe that had two malpresentations and three stillborn lambs....sometimes you almost want to throw in the towel it can be so sad, losing the moms and the lambs.  Nature can be tough and being a farmer can have seriously heartbreaking moments. Luckily the Joy outweighs the heartbreak.  That is why I nurture and monitor and because I work a real job, have a plan in place for daytime bed checks as due dates draw near.  You also have to evaluate the why of the problems (over or under condition, genetics, minerals....it all comes into play)

Cocoa and her her new BFL x Churro X Gotland cross Ram Lamb
Part of our Market Lamb Program using our BFL as mule sheep to
produce a marketable lamb with a fabulous fleece for two products in one.

     So we have had 4 ewes lamb so far and have 8 to go, 4 of which are first timers. One experienced ewe will go today for sure.   The jury is still out on the last two ewes bred...they are due over a month from now....they were marked but I am not sure they are bred yet.  I am off to work now...cannot wait to see what is waiting in the barn for me tonight!