Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Getting Ready for Lambing

Our second season of lambing feels so much more prepared than our first lambing season. First off I actually know when the ewes were bred therefore I can calculate due dates. Once I have due dates I can plan for all those things a shepherd does before lambing; like worming, booster vaccines, etc. The older hair sheep are all due from Feb 27th to March 5th. Clara, our hair sheep yearling is due March 23rd and our Coopworth yearling ewes are due the second half of April, if they are pregnant.

The hair sheep are all looking very pregnant and their udders are beginning to swell.
Mama Sadie, our hair sheep cross, is absolutely HUGE! She came with two-month old twin lambs when we bought her so we never saw her pregnant. She has to have at least twins in there now.
From left to right above: Mama Sadie, Clara and Chloe (Clara's mother.)

The older ewes received their CDT booster vaccines last week and had FAMACHA and body condition scores this morning. All the hair sheeps' FAMACHA scores ranged from 3-4. Chloe was nearly perfect with a FAMACHA score of 4 and a body condition score of 3.5. Lucky girl got a pass on the worming. The other hair sheep had either a 3 for their FAMACHA score or were a little low on the condition score so were dosed with levamisole.  Poor Clara got both the wormer and the CDT booster. 

Last year I could not have imagined doing all this work by myself.  But the sheep have become more used to me and I have gotten so much better with handling them. They, and I, are getting used to using halters. Most of the sheep stand still and put their heads down as soon as they feel the halter going on. All the conferences and classes are starting to paying off. 

The Coopworth sheep have an appointment with the shearer in March and will have their booster vaccines, FAMACHA and body condition scores, and hoof trimming done at that time. It will be nice to compare my scores to the shearer's to see how I am doing with my accuracy. Still so much to learn!

The lambing tray is getting restocked, out dated items thrown away and replaced, and everything organized. I have a huge pile of old towels from cleaning out my husband's aunt's condo. The last thing we need to do now is set up a couple lambing jugs and wait.