With the arrival of Winkie’s ewe lamb, Aimee, on April 4th, lambing was officially completed at the farm. From start to finish lambing covered 28 days. That is the tightest lambing schedule we have had in almost our entire history. It now seems like a short time, but for a while it seemed much longer. As shepherds, the two of us are perhaps showing our age just a bit!
In total 89 lambs were born this year. Unfortunately two were born dead and two died shortly after birth. The remaining 85 are doing just fine! The vast majority are now sampling solid food and the older lambs are enthusiastically eating hay with the adults. It is perhaps a misnomer to say that they are “eating hay with the adults”. Like just about every year, we soon develop “lamb feeders” and “adult feeders”. The Moms tend to avoid the feeders if they are populated by too many lambs. This photo is typical. Moms are at one feeder, the lambs at and in the the next feeder.
The lambs that are eating hay now have functioning rumens. Of course that means that, like their adult counterparts, the lambs are periodically regurgitating their food for further mastication. However, unlike the adults, the lambs are often totally surprised by their burps, which are high pitched and a little “squeaky”. Below is Ainsley, who is one of Wendolyns twin ewe lambs (the other is Ashley). She is in the thick of things when it comes to eating and also looking cute. (I am not sure if I have heard her burp; when she does I am sure it is more sophisticated than some of the boys.)
Since lambing is over we have been able to turn some of our attention to the final preparations for selling this year’s fleeces. Our previous customers from the last couple years should have already received notice, along with those who have requested to be on our mailing list. The list of 2011 fleeces will be posted to our website on our fleece page on Wednesday, April 13th at 10:00 AM CDT. For those who are new to our sale, you will find that when the new pages are posted on Wednesday that many of the fleeces are already shown as “sold”. This is because we offer last year’s customers the opportunity to reserve the same fleece(s) that they purchased the previous year. Like last year, many of you have taken advantage of that perk. Regardless of the advanced sales we will still have a large selection of nice fleeces available.
Since this is the lambing season it seems that we never can get enough time to enjoy all the lambs. So to close out this edition of Ewe Turn, here are some more lambs. Toodles has quite a pair of boys, Anders and Axel.