I had my first Jolt of lambing season several days ago. This is when I look out my kitchen window and happen to notice an ewe standing far away from the heard. I try my best to focus my eyes to see why she might be away from the herd. I can make out that her nose is at the ground and she… she … looks like she’s licking something……Oh shit! I- mean- shoot! I grab the binoculars for a closer look, fully expecting to see a white and pink blob under her face. Nope she’s just eating frozen grass. This will happen off and on for the next five weeks.
I know exactly when the goats were bred and the day in which they will begin kidding but the sheep are a little more al’naturale. I put the ram in with them early September. Goats and sheep have a five month gestation so reasonably bouncing baby lambs could be popping out at any time but after doing the math I figured it wouldn’t happen until first half of February. But, the deal is I only have two ewes bred this year, so it should not be the major undertaking as in the past.
I wanted to lamb and kid a little early this year so not to conflict with April plant sales. April is the month when the greater part of my yearly income has been made off the sale of tomato plants. But this year is going to be different. Being on my own gave me a unique opportunity to plan a little better based on what I knew I could handle. So from now until the end of March I’ll be on the lookout for lambs. However that being said I have to contend with the cold temperatures and the lack of green grass. So it’s a trade off. I’ll try it this year and see how it goes.
My friends Ann and Ed who also raise sheep have been lambing since December. Not ideal for them or the sheep but that’s what you get when a ruddy ram jumps the fence. Ann and Ed raise Katahdin another type of hair sheep. I’m going to buy eight ewe lambs from her this spring. Hair sheep are the only sheep I have worked with but after reading a wonderful book called Trafficking in Sheep by Anne Barclay Priest, I have started to look at fiber sheep. Look at. not buy. Not yet at least. I would have to learn the art of sheering and that scares the dickens out of me but the way Priest describes her learning curve in the book piques my interest especially when she talks about training her collie. Definitely a good read. Might check out a fiber breed or two………Hmm...I would love to make sheep’s milk cheese. Uh oh. Let’s just get through April.