Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sheep and Lambing

Sheep are very hardy creatures generally speaking. Unfortunately for us the sheep we bought bred were bred early in the season to lamb mid-winter which means it will be cold, windy and most likely snowing. That's why it's important to have a draft free place for the ewes and their lambs until the weather improves. This week should see the roof ends finished on the barn as well as the skirting put in place. The boys and I can do some of these things during the week but we need to wait for Steve to do some of the others. The doors are all hung, the woodstove is installed along with it's chimney but with an open ended roof it's not really going to be much use until the roof is tight. Then if all goes well we can move the sheep into the new barn and into their jugs for lambing. Oh, a jug is the name for a small pen used for a new momma and her lambs, usually about 4x5 feet or so. They stay in individual pens to bond with their lambs for a few days and then they are let out to mingle with the flock again. This helps us as shepherds to look for lambs that aren't doing well and for other problems. It's also a good time to check their feet, give them any vaccinations they may need and just make sure that mother and babies are off to a good start.

How do you know when your lambs will be born? Add 145 days to your breeding date to calculate when lambs are expected although some breeds do vary by a week either side of that date. Here is a good gestation calculator you can print off.

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