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Lifting Lambs

Posted 8/18/2011 5:04am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

We separated the mama ewes from their nearly grown ram lambs on Sunday so that the growing rams can be moved onto the best pastures for fast growth.  Some of the ram lambs are aleady quite large and we knew that they were nearing sexual maturity; it was definately time separate them from their mothers, sisters, and cousins. For several reasons, we kept them in separate pens in the barn and drylot and fed them hay for the last several days.   Even though they are separated from each other, it seemed as though being only a fence apart kept some of the noise down that usually accompanies weening.  

While we had them corraled, Roy caught a few of the largest ones to take to Benners for our retail market.   Catching lambs can be tough, even if you move them into an increasingly confined area.  They are wired for flight and they will squeeze through any opening or wiggle relentlessly in an attempt to return to the saftly of their flock.   The large loafing pen the rams have access to was built into a bank on the north side and opens in to a drylot on the south.   At the north end of the pen there is a six or seven foot drop from which we can feed hay into a wide ailse.  We also put a ladder at that end for us to clamor up and down however usually we enter through the west or south end, coming in at ground level.   Right now our pens are pretty full however, so rather than take the time to shift animals around into differnent pens in order to catch the lambs, Roy decided to use the ladder.   Climbing down is no problem, but once he caught a  ram, he then had to carry 100 lbs of  squirming lamb back up the ladder, around gas tanks, and into the bed of a small pickup truck.   He called me while I waited on the girls' at soccer practice to confirm the number we were taking in.   When he heard he sounded relieved, "That's good because I don't think I could have done this even one more time."  I have no idea how he managed to do it even once!   Strength and sheer willfulness are definate assets on a farm; of course a little maddness goes a long way too.    Thankfully Roy's back was up for the job and he and the lambs survived the climb without injury.