What a difference a year makes!Last year the pastures were nothing more than dusty lots offering only a few measly blades of dry grass for the sheep to munch on.
Today, however, is a completely different story! So much grass!I wanted to get some photos taken of the lambs out on pasture since I am now officially done lambing for the season, so I grabbed my trusty camera and headed for the pasture, but I ran into a little bit of trouble trying to get the photographs.
This is Edrea's ewe lamb...I think...wait...no, that's dandelion fluff...errr.....
This is one of Lilly's lambs. Maybe.
I think we all know who this is...I don't know what he's doing-I don't ask anymore.
Okay, time to move to shorter grass for this photo op, but first, the rundown of lambing 2013.
We finally finished lambing on Monday morning. This was the most drawn-out lambing season that I have had to date, and I will not be repeating that scenario anytime soon...or anytime-ever. Spreading it out seemed like a good idea at the time, but in retrospect, not so much. The first lambs were born April 12th, and the last were born May 20th. I much prefer the hectic two-three week sprint that I normally have, to this nearly 5 1/2 week marathon. If I was lambing out 100 ewes, the longer time frame might make sense, but not for this small flock. I now have lambs that will be ready to wean by the middle of July, and some that won't be ready until late August-which also throws off my vaccination schedule ( I like to vaccinate everyone at the same time if they are closer in age).
The final count was 16 lambs:10 ewes, 6 rams. In addition to being long, and drawn out, it was also a very strange lambing season. A few experienced moms-that historically have always had twins-gave birth to very large, single lambs this year. And when I say very large, I mean huge. I spoke with my vet about the unusual number of single births, and we decided to blame it on last summer's drought. No scientific basis for that conclusion, just a guess. He had also been seeing some strange things with calving this spring. I am sure there is some correlation between the low birth numbers and the drought. Last summer was also the first year ever that the sheep were fed hay year round because of the lack of pasture.
So, here are some lambie pictures. A lot of lambie pictures.
I will be evaluating lambs over the coming weeks, and I have a few ewe lambs that I am already planning on retaining, pending their final evaluations.
You've already met Holly's girls, both of whom are staying here. OH! We actually have names too. We went with Shakespearean characters.
Luciana and Olivia.
I can't really find any faults with these girls. I am really loving the fleece.
Lilly's ewe lamb Cleopatra. This one is a little corker!
Cleopatra's twin, Rosaline
Ashumet's ram lamb, Sampson. I am waiting to see how his fleece turns out, he is very soft, but doesn't have much crimp yet, but many times these 'dog coats' end up really nice.
It looks like he will have striped horns-love those!
Kind of leggy right now..
Odessa's ewe lamb, Celia.
Love this little girl's conformation.
Athena's girls. Bianca and Beatrice. Athena is a first-time mom and she had twins. Bianca is teeny tiny.
Romeo and Sebastian
By now you may have noticed a particular theme with markings on these lambs? I have (completely unintentionally), produced an entire lamb flock with essentially the same color, and markings. White heads and varying degrees of socks. Cute, but I need my wild spots back! Also, I'm going with a black-based ram this fall for breeding. He can carry moorit (brown) if he wants to, but he can not be moorit. Out of these 16 lambs, I have 14 moorit-based lambs, and only 2 black-based. For those of you not familiar with Shetland genetics, brown is recessive, so brown+brown equals brown. Obviously, I knew that I would get all brown out of my brown-based ewes in this lamb crop, but I have several black-based ewes as well, so I was hoping for the possibility of a few more black-based lambs out of those girls. The black ewes carry moorit though, so when bred to a moorit ram, those recessive moorit genes were pairing up everywhere this year.
Oh, look! She's moorit with a white head and legs. So unusual.
So much anger, or determination in this photo...not sure which.
Menemsha's ram, Winchester.
He's a big, ole tank. So far he has a dog-coat so he should end up with nice fleece as he matures.
Bella's twin moorit lambs...with white heads..and socks. WOW! Shocking, I know! I don't have many pictures of this set of twins, or the very last set of twins since they haven't been out of the jug very long.
Ewe lamb Emilia
Luna's twins. The ewe is named Iris, and the ram is Leonardo.
Can you guess the marking? Good job! Moorit...white heads...aaaand socks.
That's all for now.
Off to see if any lambs are lost in the grass.