Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Weaning the Lambs

The majority of our lambs which were born in January are getting really large. Although they are still nursing, they no longer need their mother's milk. They're at the point that hay and grass is enough for them. And their mothers need a break - they need to get back into condition and restore their bodies for the summer ahead and breeding season next fall.

The easiest way to wean a lamb, for us, is to take it away from its mother. Yesterday, The Farmer started moving the lambs with his landscape trailer (talk about a dual purpose piece of equipment - you can move small tractors, stuff from your house and sheep and lambs) from the winter greenhouse barn to the pastures outside our farmhouse.

It was an exciting day - one of the best days of the year here because there are animals again out in the field. Our place always seems a bit empty without animals grazing outside. There is always some wildlife but deer and turkeys aren't as dependable sights as sheep and lambs.

The sun was going down and it was like a big party. The dogs were jumping for joy - finally something to push around besides the chickens and the cats! It will take a few days of the dogs and the lambs getting to know who is who and who is boss. At first, when lambs aren't with their mamas, they don't respond to the dogs. They will walk right up to them, nose to nose, because lambs are like kids - really curious creatures. After a couple days, the lambs will know to flock together and listen to the boss.

Our farmcats love all the action the sheep provide. As I was taking these photos of the newly arrived lambs, I noticed they were all gathering along the fences and stone walls to see what was up. Mr. Hannah, our youngest cat decided to take on the lambs. The lambs had never seen a cat and so they were curious - it was a funny thing to watch. Here he is in the foreground - all those eyes on him!

He took off after a minute but there was still a bit of stopping, staring, and checking each other out. Mr. Hannah is going to have an entertaining summer with all his new friends.

The pastures are greening up and it won't be long until the leaves start emerging. We're supposed to have some rather hot weather, unseasonably so. I hope it doesn't force the apple trees into bloom. Our orchard has reverted to "an every other" cycle and this is the year for blooms and apples. Fingers crossed. Nothing we can do but I'm hoping to have a nice crop of apples to make cider with during my October 2/3 Classes on the Farm.

It was a noisy night with the lambs getting used to their new pasture and missing their mamas. It should settle down some tonight. It is so nice to see the green grass in my photos instead of all the mud and tan hay, isn't it?


Sara said...

Love it! The cat and the lambs was so funny! The green grass just makes pictures that much better. I love how quickly everything has turned.

Kathy said...

They are so adorable. I imagine them talking and relating to the other animals like in "Babe"! I love the way they gather under the trees.

Manise said...

Spring is my favorite time of year- the greening of pastures and the smell of dirt in the air and of course the flowers. I hope our heat wave doesn't cause an explosion of premature blooms and leaves.

Michele in Maine said...

Oh, those last two photos in particular are wonderful! The lighting is just golden. More postcards!

melissaknits said...

I need sheep.

Diane H K in Greenfield said...

I can see your Border Leicester ram's influence in some of those lambs!

jackie said...

LOL, to think it was a few weeks ago that those cuties were wearing sweaters:-)