It’s finally over, and it went great. In the end, they’re all nursing, the mothers are healthy and holding their weight well. We have little lambs all over the place; they really do frolic, leap and jump, and it’s easy to waste time out in the pasture or barnyard watching them. Their mothers are extremely protective and patient with them, and, though they won’t nurse another ewe’s lamb, are careful and watchful of all the lambs in the flock.
As you may remember, the sire is a purebred Texel ram – a magnificent fellow. The dams are of two types. Most of my ewes are mixed breed white faced – Dorset, Columbia and Rambouillet crosses. Also, I have several California Red ewes, who are smaller in frame and stature than the white faced ewes. All of my ewes are of high quality and are proven mothers.
The difference in their lambs is remarkable. The white faced ewes all produced big, leggy, white lambs, with birth weights of 12 – 18 pounds. The California Reds all have much smaller, red lambs with refined heads and faces, and their newborns are 8 – 12 pounds at birth. As summer goes on, I will take note of their daily rate of gain and finally, their finishing weight, to determine which is the best type to make the most efficient meat lamb.
This year we ended up with only 3 single lambs, a set of orphan triplets and a set of quadruplets (I will tell you about them next time) – all the rest were twins! Very unusual!
It is a huge relief to be done with lambing. I was totally sleep deprived (happily so), and did a happy dance when I realized I finally didn’t have to set my alarm for 1:50 am, and could sleep the night through. Now, though, the task is to keep everyone healthy and alive, and to maximize the daily gain in the little ones while keeping their mothers healthy. This takes great attention, no slacking off until after market time!