Breeding Season! Oh My
Updated: Oct 13, 2019
Lambs! Cute, adorable, fluffy lambs!
About a month ago I separated Carson and Koda from the ewes - much to their frustration - for breeding season. Romney sheep have on average, a 144 day gestation cycle. In order to have our lambing season start in March, I just put the ewes and rams back together in two breeding groups.
Winter lambs for me mean more work. Setting up heat lamps, additional lambing jugs, lambs sweaters, increased risk of cold lambs etc. With March as the start of our lambing season, it means that as the lambs are old enough to start grazing on their own, the pasture will be growing with them and be able to support them nicely through spring and summer. It will still be cold out, but most of the cold weather will be behind us with few chances of snow.
Our rams are wearing a marking harness so we can tell which ewes were... serviced... that day. The harness holds a marking crayon on the rams chest so the ewes will have a blue colored mark on their rump when they have been with the rams. I'll check every morning and make a note when each ewe should be due. This helps knowing when lambs are expected and if a ewe is late or early I'll be aware of it and can address if needed.
I divided our 10 breeding ewes and everyone else into three groups. Carson will take the recessive and 2 white ewes. Koda will take a couple white and the ewes that are not recessive. The third group is the ewe lambs that will be bred next year. The alpaca are with Koda. Lily the Llama is with Carson and Charlotte is with the lambs. So everyone has a protector!
We STILL have no rain! This has complicated our pasture setup for the three groups. Koda's group (total of 10 animals) are in the run and barn area. They have less space, but will be fed hay to supplement. Carson's group is 7 strong and in the largest paddock and half of the run. Charlotte and the 4 lambs are in E - the paddock behind the barn. We have barely any good grass left to the point that the pastures are being damaged. It's a good thing we were planning on seeding or we would be in big trouble! Two paddocks are resting now and I think it will take a while for them to really come back. It's been almost 2 months without any rain. We've had a few short showers that haven't really soaked the ground enough to help the root systems.
Charlotte will have her calf soon. She was due 10/10 and that will eventually add another animal to the property. We will have another acre paddock fenced in as soon as the ground is softer which will help tremendously for next year and this winter. But for now were rotating as we can and confining at times to give the pastures a break. It doesn't help that the sheep would rather eat the dried grass then the hay! Let's save the parasite talk for a less stressful moment. haha.
In other farm news, the hay barn is finally here! We haven't baled our field yet, but now that we have a place to put it we will soon. We were hoping for rain so that it would grow more, but now it might be of too little nutrition to even bother with. We might just brush hog it so it goes back to the soil. The barn is perfect for what we need whenever we do get hay! Thank you Jessica and Tommy!
Charlotte is getting so big! She's spoiled and brushed just about everyday. She's been steadily bagging up, there's mucus and her ligaments are loosening. As of today, I don't think she will calf tonight or even tomorrow. My goal has been to bond with her so when her calf comes she doesn't treat me as a threat. There are terrible stories of mother cows being protective of their calf and I don't blame them! But they attack people that come near. I just want to safely get milk everyday from her. :) We should be fine - she's been here almost 2 months now. She follows everywhere thinking I'm going to feed or brush her. I've been in a rush to get the stanchion finished, but with the sheep show this week and focus on other projects and MASON! <3 it isn't quite ready yet. The platform is done, we just need to add the side supports and feed trough holder. I would love to have at least a day to get her in it with her feed before the calf comes. I'll take what I can get at this point!
Scarlett the bottle baby alpaca is PRECIOUS! She runs up when she sees us, her little tail flipped in the air and hums for her bottle. I rub her all over whenever were there and pick up her feet. She went to a local school with me for a few children to calmly pet and she did great! Aria and Mitt also came and were fed until they were content! They even had green grass to munch on.