Lets talk about Sheep.. and how simple things can have effects

I know, I know, I am working on those last posts for the March Challenge, slow but steady is my motto, and I am in the mood to write about sheep today.. so sheep is what we get..

Three years a go, we had the great dry year here on the farm, it was a early start to spring, no rains, dry, dry and more dry, the sheep eat my pasture down to nothing despite me feeding hay, I should have dry lot them but there was little to do about the pasture.

* the good news about it was that lack of pasture and the very HIGH price of hay was part of the reason I was able to buy Brandy Girl for a reasonable price.

Well, I expected that I would be able to work on fixing the pasture and I did a good job on it two years ago and saw good improvement, I was seeding, feeding, and it was a good year but last year..  o my.. I was out of the work, as I said before.. hubby kept everything feed, watered and safe, he did bedding, feed, hay, and water but otherwise, they were pretty much on their own.

It shows this year, no flushing of the ewe is why we have almost all singles this year.. he did not worm them and by the time my broken bones, time off the farm to help my mom deal with the passing of my step-father and then me getting so sick healed up enough for me to lift up and go..  Worming really needed to be done. I did it and got the sheep healed up.

But then they were coming into their pregnancies thinner then I would like, they put their energy into their winter coats, then their babies, and now into their milk-babies.. throw in a long hard, brutal cold winter and I am checking, checking, and checking again on their weights.

I have for the first time ever needed to grain them, and I do not mean a little bit of grain at lambing for extra calories for mommas with twins and fresh green grass.. I mean the momma are currently eating the full allotment of 4 pounds of per head, plus all the hay they can stuff into their faces.

Thankfully its locally grown, harvested grains at a very reasonable price for me, but its still yet another increase monthly with the sheep flock but the girls need the extra calories, and so that is that as they say.

The lambs, o my the lambs, I have never seen such big strong, fast growing lambs, combo of coming out big, then having momma sheep with milk for two and they are drinking it all as a single.. add in that they have figured out a nibble of grain is fab as well..

Which brings me to this year.. hmmm

Things I need to fix..

  • Pasture needs to be reseeded and value and production increased
  • Ewes need to be brought back to a full ideal weight.
  • Lambs need to be kept track of, so many factors at play this year.

So how to get all three of them to work at the same time..

My Answers..

  • more cross fencings so I can move the flock around..
  • The sheep flock are being moved to the back corner with access to the barn, but going to be kept off the small and big pasture for three to five weeks while we work and seed and start the pastures.
  • For the first time ever, I am going to wean lambs at 60 days or 45 pounds and dry up the mommas, once they are dried up, then I will let everyone back together.
  • Weaning the moms will allow me to milk a number for putting up cheese in a bulk way and then only keeping one or two as milking sheep, will drying up the rest.
  • Grain feeding for the ewes to continue to get weight to where I want it, and so that they will come into fall perfect condition for breeding and winter.

The good news is that I have already got almost everything I need to make the above happen.. its just a matter of timing, work and more work LOL




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2 Responses to Lets talk about Sheep.. and how simple things can have effects

  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    So it sounds like, in the long run, what you’ve lost in one way – many singletons, over-grazed pasture and under-weight ewes – is actually a bit of a blessing in disguise with the vigour of the lambs and an abundance of milk/milk products this year?

    • Well, it can be looked at that way deb, what it does show me is new ways to do things when needed, before this year I never had to learn how to properly grain for weight, my ewe always did well on hay-grass and a bit of training grain or if they needed a cup or two if they are feeding extra lambs, I am on a steep learning curve on a happy successful and safe lamb weaning, and the extra milk and milking has its on learning curve, more ewes milked, the more I can gain in knowledge about my different lines yields.

      The strength of the lambs and their growth, should be reflected at the butchers this fall, it will be interesting to see how they do being finished on squash and apple, as well as pasture.

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