Friday, January 23, 2015

From the Barns

We have heat lamps in some of the pens where the lambs are a bit weak and not ready to be out with the rest of the flock. Frequently there will be lambs laying on both sides of the fences, sharing the heat from the lamps. We buy the lamps from Premier Sheep Supplies. They aren't cheap but the cages on the bottom of them keep the lambs away from the light bulbs. Sheep are rough creatures and even with this system, the bulbs still break. You can also use them for brooding chicks (although I just use 100 watt bulbs for the chicks). 

When a lamb is really down and out, but not bad enough to bring back to the house, we will have a heating under the lamb so they are getting heat on both sides. A little heat often brings back a weak lamb.

Here are some cute close-ups of some of the lambs that are between a day and a week old. 

Can you tell the difference in the breeds of the lambs? Look carefully at their faces and ears. This year we used the following ram breeds: Polypay, Dorset, Cheviot, Dorper and a cross bred ram of our own breeding. The ewe flock is primarily Romney and Border Leicesters crossed over the years with the ram breeds above. 

When people ask me about sheep farming, I frequently tell them that it is science. Working with nature, animals, food, and the environment produces good healthy lambs. There is a huge learning curve even 30 years in. Julia and I call The Farmer our "sheep geek" because he is obsessed with researching and learning more and more about sheep and trying new techniques. 

This lamb is probably about a month old. He and a couple ewes are eating snow. 

This lamb with the big ears is a Dorset cross. We used a ram from Pennsylvania whose sire was from Australia. The farm which we bought the ram from imported the semen from Australia and use AI (artificial insemination) to breed their flock. High tech sheep breeding. So that ram's progeny have an Australian grandpa. Cool huh? I love the big long ears. The lambs this year are his first and we will see how they do on our land.

On the book front, I am receiving a large shipment of books from the warehouse this evening so I will be packing and shipping on Monday and all next week. If I can do it, I should have all orders out next week. Fingers crossed. Thank you so much for all the orders everyone.


Auntie Shan said...

I'm surprised that they don't go blind with that lamp so close! -- So, I'm just trying to figure out the "practical" physics of it all, are there any type of stone or ceramic slabbing [to put under the straw] available that would be able to exude heat long enough to be viable? That light must surely keep them up nights?!

lynette said...

I'm amazed at all the subtle variety in the lambs. Thanks for giving me a small glimpse into the world of raising sheep. Because of you I love my yarn even more!

Jean said...

Dear Kristin,

Received my copy of your book and it is a delight. I love the pink tissue paper you took the time to wrap it in and all the charming note papers, postcards, etc.
Wishes for a huge success.

Sheep Farm adventures of a Shepherdess said...

Kristin, I am right there with the Farmer. I love raising sheep and love learning as much as possible about raising any kind of livestock but especially sheep. That is why I like checking in with you and seeing how the sheep farmers on the other side of the States are doing. Our lambing season has just begun. I get asked how I can tell them apart all the time. It is a lot like knitting, if you do it and love it you can tell one type of stitch from another type. Thank you for sharing. The Shepherd

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love the Premier 1 heat lamps. Cute lambs.