At this time of year, most of our adult ewes have already had their lambs. Although it is rather anti-climatic here on the blog, the barn is busier than ever. The older lambs are eating more hay although they are still nursing from their mamas. The Farmer has set up a "creep" which is basically an enclosed area of the barn with a metal gate with closely set bars. The lambs can sneak through but the openings are not large enough for the adults to get in. Inside the creep, there are buckets set up with protein enriched grain. The lambs eat this and it helps them grow. They all love to hang out inside the creep together. I always think that they look like a bunch of teenagers hanging out smoking cigarettes. It's a funny thought but I just can't help it. Once the pastures kick in (which is hopefully only about six weeks away), there will be no more grain for the sheep and lambs.
The barn is extra busy now because some of last year's ewe lambs are beginning ot have babies. This creates all kinds of extra work because they are first time mothers. Just like with people, some sheep have the "mothering gene" and some don't. The barn is full of nursery pens and we're dealing with holding uninterested mothers still while one of us attaches the lamb to the teat and gets it to suck. It reminds me of being in the NICU at NEMC with Julia and the breast feeding specialists who came in to help Julia learn to breast feed. We were a horrible failure - I never got any breast milk (too much stress, I suppose) and Julia thought a bottle with easy flowing milk was much easier. I doubt the sheep who never have any milk angst over the situation as much as I did. They must have my mom's attitude. Live and let live. I can still remember my mother saying to me as I was pumping away with that strange looking breast pump my sister gave me. She looked at me and said "Kristin, I never breast fed you and you turned out alright." That's all it took for me to stop trying and concentrate on Julia's real problems. The next time those breast feeding specialists came in the NICU, I told them to leave me alone. The formula would be fine. Thank you Mom. You are the BEST!
Who knew raising sheep would bring so many parallels to child-rearing. Here's one of my favorite black Border Leicester cross black ewes from last year and her new little girl. This yealing luckily is doing a great job with her baby and the lamb is thriving! What a brightie.
Happy weekend everyone and I hope to see some of you at RJ Julia tonight. I'm bringing some door prizes!
Have you seen this? It's a trend - knitting sweaters for animals but this time it is poultry.