Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lambing, 2012

I don't write much about the sheep becaue they really don't take up too much of my time.  They're pretty low care overall.  Once every six months or so I trim their hooves, and I feed them hay in the winter, and put out minerals for them, but that's about it.  For the most part they keep the grass clipped and feed themselves for the majority of the year, which is really very nice.  That's part of the reason I picked the katahdin breed of sheep -- they shed their wool every year, and so do not require shearing. 

2012 lambs

Today I spent part of the day tagging and inspecting the lambs; the female lambs get tagged, the boys get counted; I have a customer base that prefers young intact rams for their holiday festivals, and so I'm usually able to sell them at a premium over the usual sale price. 

I take notes on the female lambs, weight, coat condition, overall conformation, and I'll go back in a couple of months and look at them again.   We have 38 lambs this year, 21 females and 17 males, from our flock of 26 ewes, which ended up being a 140% lamb production, which for serious sheep people like Michelle is low, but I'm pretty happy with it. 

The holy grail of sheep apparently is a flock that requires little or no input, and gives you an average of 2 lambs per ewe per year, in the form of twins.

Piercing the girls ears

The grass is growing in the fields right now, but I'd like it to be 6-8" high before I set the sheep out on it.  We're feeding these 64 sheep one round bale of hay per week.  I'll probably be putting them out on pasture in another 3 weeks or so. 

The ear tags are the only way that we can reliably tell the sheep apart; at this point there are 5 people working on the farm, and when we need to do something with a particular animal, it's nice to say "get sheep #30 and bring it to the front".  The boys don't get tagged, which is the other conversation we have regularly -- which animals can be sold.  We only tag the animals that we may be keeping. 

1 comment:

Portland Charcuterie Project said...

Beautiful animals.. I would love to get my hands on one of those lambs for a "thank god winter's over" bbq.

You do a great job taking care of your stock.