lambing season is a lot like gardening. you learn as you go. joe and i bought our first “OG” sheep about 4 years ago from an ad on craigslist. we were not going to buy them that day but they were outgrowing their current yard and we thought meh now or never. so we put them in the back of joe’s ford explorer and drove them back to the farm.
that day is when we got our first lesson in de worming sheep. we didn’t know how to do such things but we found the local vet to be extremely helpful during our first year or two of “sheep farming” we originally bought them to eat but chickened out (no pun intended). we now keep a few and sell a few each year using the money from the sold sheep to buy lamb that is from a local producer. it works out nice because we buy only the cuts we want (lamb shoulder, lamb burger, leg o lamb..) ok now i’m drooling and it is borderline inappropriate because i’m talking about our current pets.
there is a sad(er) side to farming and that is when you lose an animal. it’s going to happen but when it does you still feel horrible and wish you would have known to try something different. we have had a few different issues with rams over the years. basically the keep dying after breeding season. the first ram to go like this was our beloved stan and it was thought that he maybe got into something poisonous. we had a local college agricultural team come and comb our field but they found nothing. next it was earl gray and after that a ram we dared not name because he died too. we have been referring to each of our spring lambs as “legacy lambs” because they’re the only ones ever born from that ram. our best guess is that they get greedy after doing their job and over eat, get bloat and die. however we have talked to two different vets and one suggests that while the other suggests a random bladder infection but three years running? we are not going to be keeping a ram on our property this year so we are going to skip a season of lambs (so sad) but until we get this issue figured out we don’t want any more casualties.
we also lost our sweet booboo right before lambing season. she has been mysteriously sick for a while too and again, two different vets could not figure it out. we did everything we could but eventually she passed away as well.
we have also had a few stillborns this year, three to be exact. i’m afraid the mothers were just too young and for that we feel incredibly guilty. we kept them separate but every now and then paths would cross and apparently it doesn’t take much to get a sheep pregnant.
however on to the happy stuff. the success of our 2019 lambing season include twins (ram and ewe), from betty (og sheep), twins (ram and ewe) from babs (og sheep) and a ram from bebe (also OG sheep). the stillborns and casualties were all from last years flocks.
that leaves us with a current heard count of 12.
9 ewes and 2 rams. we will most likely be selling off our two rams this year and possibly next year buying a ram from another flock so that would mean lambs in the spring of 2021 and skipping 2020. someday when i have the brain capacity i’ll write down the entire lineage of the sheep. part of our 2018 flock (grace and her two half brothers) are over at liz and jose’s farm.
this was one of our rougher seasons of sheep farming but everyone is currently doing well.