Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring has sprung

I had to go on a trip to Portland, OR for work. The weather was lousy. Rained the entire 3 hour drive down and most of the 3 hour drive back. Actually, that is putting it POURED.

When I returned, the weather wasn't too bad. The sun was peeking out so I did some work in the garden. I heard what I thought was my youngest goat in the barn. Didn't think much of it. For some reason I went into the barn when I was done in the garden to check on things. I didn't have any need to go it. When I looked in the sheep stall, here is what I found....

Our ewe had two lambs!

One boy and one girl. They were all dried off and walking and nursing. She had them sometime between noon and 5pm. We thought she was pregnant (when we bought her they said she was probably due in January, but that was not the case). She was looking fairly wide but I was having trouble determining if that was wool or pregnancy. One of the kids said "I know wool and I know pregnancy and that is pregnancy." She was sure right!

The older offspring of the sheep is (was) a ram of around a year old. He was none too pleased that his parents were busy with two new siblings and spent much of his time trying to ram them into the wall. Keep in mind that Jacob's sheep have a pretty good set of horns on the, so you can understand that this was not a good thing. I put the young ram in with the goats and neither of them was happy about the situation but I knew the goats could hold their own against him. Then I called the butcher and made an appointment. Took him in a week later and should soon have lamb to put in my freezer.

This is our first time raising sheep. I did a lot of research and found that Jacob's sheep are very hardy and lamb easily.  Turns out to be very true. The lambs are very strong and healthy and the ewe is no worse for the experience. Having only experienced goats kidding, I am quite impressed by the ease of raising sheep. All I have had to do so far is dip their umbilical cords in iodine the first day. At not even two weeks old, they are already eating grass beside their parents all day long. Unlike goats, they get down to business right away. I rarely see them playing. They spend their days eating grass, nursing and napping.

If I needed to simplify my life, I would think about raising sheep and not goats. But goats are much friendlier and we love the milk they provide so I don't see changing over to sheep only any time soon.

I am excited for spring and the new life it brings. Up goats in a week or so!