Friday, June 24, 2011

Mad Dash from Pasture to Pen!

This is their third excursion from pasture to pen. (Pen to pasture doesn't go quite as smoothly - yet.) There is grain in the pen and the ewes know it! The lambs just (mostly) follow their moms. At the end, I have to wait for Chamois and her triplets, then scoop one laggard through the gate into the pen.

These are most of the Gotland ewes and their lambs. Several are for sale. :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

6 ewes - 17 lambs

EVR Chamois and her triplets, 1 ram, 2 ewes.

We did AI late in the breeding season this year. We AI'd 6 Gotland cross ewes - 4 at 50% and 2 at 75%, then left them with the backup ram, 87.5% Gotland ram RCF Calloway, for just one cycle. The lambs came in late May and early June - two sets of twins, three sets of triplets and one set of quads! That's almost a 300% lambing rate, and more than doubled the number of lambs on the farm.

EVR Gem with her twins, a ewe and a ram

This group is being kept separate from the rest of the flock so the ewes can get extra nutrition. They're feeding many mouths! I like the lambs in general. They have nice bodies, long loins, tall legs. Several have the tight pincurl fleeces that I like, usually seen on the whites, also on some of the greys this year.

Chamois and her triplets again.

These photos were taken on the lambs first trip out to the "yard" pasture. I like having the sheep close to the house where I can just glance out the window and see them.

Bossie and her quads - from left: Chrome (ewe), Marlene (ewe), Sooty (ewe and sideways), ram.

I stole Michelle's idea of leading the ewes out to the pasture and letting the lambs follow.

Oh, my! The first time was total chaos! The ewes came just fine, but only a couple of the lambs initially crossed the "threshold" into the great unknown. With Dave holding ewes in the pasture, I made several trips back with one mom or another to pick up the strays. Finally! They were all in the pasture. I kept halters on the ewes in case they were needed on the trip back. The ewes had been confined for a while, so they only got to be on the fresh, green grass for a bit, working them up to full access.

Bossie and her quads again.

Fortunately, the trip back was like going "home" and the lambs followed very nicely... following their moms who were following me with the grain bucket. You gotta love the pig-sheep.

87.5% ewe lamb - one of Jewel's twins.

Today - I led the ewes out to the pasture with a bucket of grain. About half of the lambs followed the first time. We made the trip past the gate a couple of times and got everyone except Chamois' triplets. Putting her on a halter and leading just her to the gate got the trio moving. The second time around was much easier!

Not shown - this time - Jewel and her other daughter, Bits and her white triplets, Bunny and her grey triplets.