Spring lambing season has begun!
Today (April 27th, 2022) marks the first expected lambing date, but there are already roughly 50 lambs on the ground including a couple sets of triplets. While that may sound like a lot of baby lambs, there are still many more on the way! Our flock consists of about 385 ewes and each expecting ewe will give birth to 1-3 lambs over the next few weeks.
About a month ago, we split the flock into 12 groups and gave each group of 20-40 ewes their own paddock in the pasture. They will not move from these paddocks until their lambs are a few weeks old. This allows the expecting mothers to settle in and prepare to have their babies. Once the lambs are born, they will be able to focus on caring for their babies without added stress from the whole flock being moved about to new grazing ground. Don’t worry though, these paddocks have plenty of space for them to move around and the spring grass is growing abundantly to keep them fed.
One concern with having new baby lambs out on pasture is the threat from predators. Coyotes in particular pose the greatest threat to our lambs. We have found that donkeys are naturally protective animals and will fight off attacks from coyotes. There are currently 3 donkeys accompanying the momma ewes and their new babies to help keep them safe.
Joel will be making daily checks to care for the lambing mothers and make sure they are all doing okay. One of his primary tools for making these checks is his magnifying scope! His view from the scope shows the sheep in pretty great detail from almost a quarter of a mile away. He doesn’t have to get close enough to disturb them unless he happens to see something out of the ordinary that requires closer investigation. This saves time, allows for better observation, and maintains peace and quiet in the flock.
This image was taken by Joel today through the scope. This ewe is in labor and about to have her baby(ies).
Spring lambing is exciting and I know everyone wants to see the cute baby lambs! We will share the pictures that we are able to get on our social media as they are available, but the sheep like to have their space especially in such a delicate time as lambing. In an effort to make lambing season as low-stress as possible for both mommas and babies, we won’t be subjecting them to any up-close photo shoots. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram to enjoy more pictures from a distance :)
Update 4/28/2022: After noticing that the sheep and donkeys seemed a bit on edge during his Wednesday afternoon visit to the flock, Joel suspected there may be predators lurking about and causing the animals to be uneasy. Joel returned to the flock after dark to see if his suspicions were correct and had a close encounter with a group of 5 coyotes! He was able to ward them off and keep the lambs safe from harm for the night. He will be making additional night-time visits to the flock to continue protecting against predators while the newborn lambs and birthing ewes are particularly vulnerable.