I failed to keep up with the weekly lambing report. Instead, I will almost be able to wrap up the season with this post. It has been an amazing lambing at Whitefish Bay Farm. From March 10th through April 1st we had at least one birth a day, save for a day’s rest on March 24th. Nonetheless, we never experienced a day in which we were overpowered by large numbers of lambs being born. Since April 1st, we have been waiting on Tess and Trixie, a couple of slow pokes, due sometime this week or early next week.
The whole operation reminds me of being parked at a railroad crossing, with a long, slow moving freight train passing. The progress was ever so steady and even, for such a long while. The only problem is that someone unhooked the caboose and we are still waiting for it to coast by on its own power. In the meantime, the crossing gates are still down and we cannot get on with our travels.
To date we are up to 55 ewes having delivered 85 lambs, 46 of which are ewe lambs. We are please with the overall health of both the ewes and their lambs. Now we just hope to continue that way. Tonight we began weighing the lambs at their 30th day. Xanadu, the first born, is now at slightly over a respectable 37 pounds. Tomorrow is Zahra’s and Yoko’s turn.
We were especially excited with Oeuf’s twin ewe lambs, Yo Yo Maa and Yo Yo Baa, the later of whom resembles a Jacob sheep with the fineness of a Corriedale fleece (and no horns!).
Perhaps even more exciting were Lucy’s twin ewes, the first of whom is a true Moorit in terms of coloration. Moorit coloring is a soft brown with perhaps a tinge of red at an early age. It is a recessive color gene usually hidden by the blacks and grays. It is rare when it shows up in American Corriedales. Usually in the USA, it shows up with Corriedales crossed with another breed that is carrying the Moorit genetics. Needless to say that little ewe has already assured herself a place in the flock!
The other unique aspect of this year’s lambing season has been the weather. Never, since we had our first lambs born in 1991, have we gone through the entire month of March without any measurable snow fall! This year it happened. In addition we received just a trace of rain for the period. The temperatures were generally pleasant. The result of all the “nice” weather was a lambing that was much less stressful for lambs, their moms and the shepherds. Throughout all of this time there was a little voice that whispered a warning about the dryness. Things were not boding well as far as pasture growth, not to mention the welfare of plant life in general. However, April has compensated us so far. On the 6th 1.2″ of slow, steady rain fell. On the 8th we awoke to a heavy wet snow of at least 4″. Hopefully we will continue to get the much needed moisture as we work into spring.
Lastly, here is a smile, compliments of Zarha.