This is weaning week. My friend, Lucas, came to the farm a few days ago and helped get the first eight lambs into the truck, which we then drove back to the shed, where the lambs were shut in until we catch them all and they are over being separated from their mothers. Over the last few days, I’ve caught an additional five; four more to go. I go out each morning and grab a lamb while the mothers are eating and carry it back to the shed. I have no sophisticated handling equipment, so it’s just grab a leg, throw the lamb over my back, and grab it by the legs, and walk the 500 feet to the shed. I have been trying to grab two a day. Hopefully, by tomorrow, I’ll have them all in the shed. I was lucky and was able to catch two this morning. Usually, after one, the mothers are wary and the babies even more so, but by the next feeding time, they are willing to risk being caught in order to have “candy” (whole organic grain). Then, they all get CDT shots to ward off some nasty intestinal diseases, and worming and eventually, a rabies shot and second CDT shot 3 weeks later. Then, they are ready to go back in with the girls, who are “dried off” by then, or if boys, either in the pasture for lambs headed for butcher, or lambs I hope to sell for breeding stock. Truth is, though, each year, there are several rams who would make lovely breeding rams, but aren’t sold, and they end up in the freezer. You only need two rams (one, and a second, in case the first gets tired!) to breed all your ewes, so there’s always a bigger market for ewes than rams.)
Also, this morning, I friendlied up the little piglets a bit more and finally felt confident that they could do okay in with the larger piglets, so opened their mini-pen and let them out. The four of them have been happily exploring ever since. The bigger ones, 12 weeks old, and maybe 50 pounds (?) have shown the little ones how to work the automatic feeder by lifting the lid with their snouts. And they are playing nicely and napping together. The little ones are only about 12 pounds each. I’ll try to get a photo later.
It was nice this morning, clear sky, and not too much humidity. Lizzie spent a couple hours in her crate while I went to Carol’s to sit and knit. Now, it’s clouding over, humidity is closing in, and I suppose we will have a thunder storm eventually. It seems over the past two weeks to be the rule of thumb for afternoons! We are making up for the period of no rain in May in a big way. I’m glad for the pasture really needs rain! It is starting to catch up. I was beginning to wonder if I’d have enough pasture to feed the sheep. Now that weaning is underway, and the lambs due to be put on John’s pasture, which reduces the sheepload on my pastures (Okay, we’re weird: he tends the small pasture on one side of the driveway which includes orchard and veggie garden. I tend the several acres of pasture on the other side. Every year we put the weaned lambs on his pasture for a short time, which fertilizes his side and gives me a bit of extra grass.), it looks like we’ll have enough, for after the lambs are finished on his pasture, many of them will either be sold or go to auction.
Lizzie the puppy has fallen asleep, after having played outdoors and in since my return. She’s out like a light. Sounds like a good idea! Think I’ll take a little cat nap.