Monday, April 06, 2009
What's wrong with this picture?
We don't normally start lambing until May, but last fall, our four rams broke through two fences and went underneath the highway bridge so they could pay a visit to the ewe flock south of the highway. They were only in overnight, but so far I've had about a dozen ewes giving birth in the last five days. The weather has been okay, but for new babies and cold nights, I bedded them in piles of hay in the corral with their mothers.
I had four more sets of twin lambs born this morning. Since it was such a nice day, I opened the gates for everyone in the corral to get out and join the herd in the pasture if they wanted. Some did, but others seem to enjoy the comfort and quiet of the corral.
Once the new babes join the herd in the meadow, sometimes the lambs forget who their mamas are. They are quickly recovered, but it can be fairly entertaining. This lamb thought her mother was a cow, but her real mother promptly reminded her that she already had a sheep family.
We combine the cattle and sheep herds in the winter because it makes for easy feeding, and provides added protection from predation. Most of our cows have horns and don't like intruders, yet are pretty gentle with their sheep companions. We usually have the herds separated out before calving and lambing, but with early lambs, we're having a new experience. So far, so good. The livestock guard dogs keep really busy, cleaning up birthing materials for both cows and sheep; keeping coyotes out of the pasture; and not letting ravens land near newborns.
This little ewe and lamb have the right idea - enjoying that spring sunshine.