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Lambs arrive!

Posted 1/8/2009 10:25am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

On Tuesday Roy came in from the barn after feeding the cows and sheep to report the arrival of our first set of twin lambs.  We were expecting them in about two or three weeks but here they are braving the howling wind and icy barnyard. 

 

Every year we attempt to keep better lambing records.  About two years ago we succeeded at getting ear tags in every ewe so that we can keep record of her lambing success from year to year.  Getting ear tags in however is only helpful if you can actually read the numbers!  The first couple tags went in pretty easily until we looked at their new accessories and realized we had the tags in upside down so that the number was hidden inside the ear.  A simple change corrected that problem however even with the tags facing out they are not easy to read.  During lambing season we check on the sheep three or four times a day. We rarely have to intervene and only if it appears necessary do we separate the ewe and lambs from the other sheep.  So in order to keep accurate records we have to watch closely to see which lambs belong to which ewe.  Frequently we can be found in the barn with binoculars trying to get an accurate read on the ear tag without going into the pen and causing added stress.  About once a week over the next several weeks we will go in and catch the newborns, record their gender, and dock their tails.  The reason we dock tails is to keep them clean over summer when flies will lay eggs in long, dirty tails, and, in the case of ewe lambs, so that when they start birthing lambs, it is easier for their lambs to find the udder and get an early drink. 

  lamb nuzzle

There is no doubt that docking tails is stressful for the lambs, mostly because they are taken from their moms and handled by us.  We use a hot docker that cuts the tail just below the bone and cauterizes the end to stop the bleeding.  Frances and Riley return the docked lambs to their moms.  They love to nuzzle and comfort the little lambs and often get the lambs to suck on their noses in the process.  Of course sometimes a lamb is just too lively, or so we claim, and Roy and I get cuddle that little guy back to its mom.