Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring brings on the lambs...

Oh, I do love baby lambs.  They are beyond cute and so special.  Ewes are great moms as well.  We let our ewes lamb on pasture then pick up the lambs and mom follows to a pen for worming and ear tagging before mom and lambs are returned to pasture.  The weather has be wonderful and the green grass is growing, making for rich milk for the babies.

The photo to the left is Sunshine babysitting the group of lambs.  Two are hers.  Moms will look out for each others lambs and all the lambs play together.

Group of lovely Mini Cheviot Lambs.

These ewe lambs are out of Spot.  She is a Mini Cheviot ewe and she had these beautiful twins.

One of the sisters have found lunch and is happy to report all is good...

Mini Long Tail and her son sired by Victor.  Her ram lamb is spectacular and he is a future herd sire.

He knows he is special.  We may just call him King, because he looks and acts like one.  Mini Long tail is a great mom with plenty of milk, so this little man is growing beautifully.

One more photo of our future king...

Our first Icelandic ram lamb is out of Boing, sired by Snow Man.  Snow man carries spots, so this little fellow has spots and looks like a masked bandit.

Brother is white and both ram lambs are very nice, with nice horn buds.  We will see how they grow out.

Our last ram lamb is a Shetland.  He is pictured to the right.  His mom is a first timer and rather small ewe.  I found her in the field with this head sticking out her behind.  He is a big boy with a large head.  I assisted his birth and saw he was still alive.  Hang in there little fella I told him.  He was to large to bring both legs out, so I was able to get one and pull on his neck wool and leg.  Suddenly he slid out to say Hi.  He was exhausted, a rough day hanging out of mom's behind.  But it was over and with some stimulation, he came around to be quite a handsome young man.  Mom is recovering as well and received some antibiotics for several days due to my hand up her behind.  Bless her heart...  Anyway, a word of caution to anyone helping to birth lambs.  Never pull on their head.  Pulling on their head will snap their neck like a tooth pick.  Ask me how I know this...  Yeah, so a word of caution, do not pull on a lamb's head.  One can pull on the wool of the shoulders or manipulate a leg and pull on that.  Now in goats, you can pull the head with in reason.  I try to avoid head pulling period after snapping a lamb's neck once.  I could hear it snap too.  A hard lesson to learn.  It was an ewe lamb & she was alive, until I came along, Icelandic.  I still kick myself when I think about it, but did not know until later, when I sat through a 2 hour video on lambing, that you do not pull on the head.  SO, DO NOT PULL ON A Lamb's HEAD!!

The Mini Cheviots are the only breed we need to dock tails.  Their tails are quit long and my original breeding stock from Smokey Valley did not have their tails docked.  I left the tails on and most of the time it does not cause problems.  But in the south, we get fly strike, which is where flys lay eggs and maggots will eat flesh.  The long tail can cause this due to feces and urine getting in the tail.  To prevent this, we dock the tail.  The two Cheviots who do have long tails are monitored all summer closely and we shear them in May to keep everything short enough to prevent fly strike.  I usually put a bit of fly spray on the tails when we work the sheep over the summer.  So far, so good. 

We band the young lamb's tails and they fall off in a week or two.  The Icelandics and Shetlands are shortailed sheep and we do not band their tails.  The Shetlands have a bit longer tail then the Icelandics, but one leaves them alone.  The Shetland registry will not register a lamb who has had its tail docked.

Enough for now, the time change has me all messed up and sooo tired.  More later...