The perk benefit of staying up all night with ewes in labor? Enjoying a gorgeous Montana sunrise…
We spent a wonderful spring day moving sheds to the lambing paddock. Only a week left until we should start seeing lambs!
While dad moved sheds the kids had wheelbarrow rides…
The sheep romped…
and the chickens did… chicken things.
We’ve had our first taste of Spring this year! Finally, the four Suffolk ewes we had bred last fall lambed. They were all a week later than expected but it worked out wonderfully as the week they were due we had temperatures 20 to 30 below zero with lots of snow. The temperatures have shifted to the high 30’s and low 40’s, a bit better for lambing in. Smart mamas!
The first ewe to lamb was Garrett’s ewe, Velma. She had no problems and lambed in front of a large audience, giving birth to a large, single, ram lamb
The next ewe to lamb was Teigen’s ewe, Cookie, she is a yearling and it was her first time lambing. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning she gave birth. When I went to check the ewes in the morning, Teigen’s ewe was out standing with a little lamb beside it and then my eye caught a little lump in the snow. When I went closer I found another lamb, I thought she was dead and then she moved just a bit…wow…made me go into hyper-drive. She was sooo cold, cold mouth, body, etc. I couldn’t believe she was still alive. She had the full spa treatment…warm water soak while in a garbage sack to retain all of the mama’s smells, tubed with mama’s milk, then on to a warming box with a hairdryer, and eventually a warm rice sock on the belly and she gradually came to life. She started to nuzzle and looking for something to eat and drank most of her bottle…
And as things typically go in our house, the recycling had just been taken out and the only bottle we could find was a 2 liter bottle! But it did the trick…
The kids have affectionately named her Elsa from the movie Frozen. Elsa, eventually tried out her little legs and then did some more snuggling with the rice sock. When she woke up and she was hungry and her temperature was back to normal, so she was reunited with mom and brother. The mom ended up taking her back no problems, let her nurse and all is well!
The next one to lamb was Maddie’s ewe, Wild…
Again with a full audience hanging out in the feed bunk…
The second little ewe lamb was having a bit of trouble breathing so I was busy using a nasal syringe to help clear the mucous from her throat.
A nice set of twins, one ram and one ewe!
Garrett and Emmy watching…
Then Sunday morning we were greeted with this…
A strong, healthy ewe lamb. Dried off and had a full belly!
Now we have a few weeks off until the Icelandics start their run. Which will mean long days and short nights. But I look forward to it all year! Hopefully the Icelandics have as good of a run as the Suffolks did.
Snow, snow and more snow. It just keeps on falling…
Homestead Barn Hop,The Backyard Farming Connection,
I’m missing the freezing fog this week. We are experience extremely cold temperatures here this week. Tonight’s low is suppose be -10 F with wind-chills bringing the temps down to -20 to -30 degrees F. Wishing it was a bit warmer like it was in these pictures…
Did I mention we have a handful of Suffolk ewes due any day now? Hopefully they got the memo on not delivering in this cold. Brrrrrr….
Linking up with friends at:
We had a bit of blue sky and no snow, great time to check out the ewe lambs across the road…
Homestead Barn Hop,The Backyard Farming Connection,
Taking in the beauty of this wonderful place…
On our last day of camping in the Tetons, we hooked up to our camper, headed down the road and had to make a decision as to which road to take to go back to Yellowstone. We decided at the last minute to veer closer to the mountains in hope of seeing more elk. While driving we saw a cow and calf elk come running full tilt out of the trees, we quickly pulled off the road and decided to wait and see what else would come out…
Here comes the rest of the herd…
With a nice bull…
We were definitely happy campers seeing these beautiful animals our last day in Tetons!
Woody is the newest addition to the farm! He is a Wensleydale…
The mating of a Dishley Leicester ram with a Teeswater ewe in 1838 produced the famous ram ‘Blue Cap’ who was the founding sire of the Wensleydale breed. He was a striking ram, with blue pigmentation on his head and ears that is now the hallmark of the breed, great size (203 kg as a two-shear) and wool of distinctive quality. The modern Wensleydale has inherited these qualities. It is a large sheep with long-stapled, lustrous wool that falls in long ringlets almost to ground level in unshorn sheep. The breed has a quality known as ‘central checking’ that prevents the formation of kemp in the fleece.
The Wensleydale is a very large longwool sheep, described by the British Meat and Livestock Commission as “probably the heaviest of all our indigenous breeds.” It is a visually striking sheep with considerable presence. It has a bold and alert carriage which is accentuated by its broad, level back and heavy muscling in the hindquarters. It has a distinctive deep blue head and ears, which should be clean except for a well developed forelock of wool. Both sexes are polled.
The Wensleydale breed was developed to provide rams for crossing onto hill ewes, mainly Swaledale, Blackface, Rough Fell, Cheviot & Dalesbred. The female crossbreds develop into prolific, heavy-milking, hardy breeding ewes while the wethers, under natural conditions and on marginal ground, provide quality carcasses at higher weight, with no excess fat.
Today the breed is established throughout the United Kingdom and extends into mainland Europe.
For more info please visit the North American Wensleydale Sheep Association….
Woody will be used on some of our Icelandic ewes. We feel the cross will be wonderful! The size (meatiness) and wool quality from the Wensleydale added to the lamb vigor, hardiness, wonderful maternal instinct and mothering abilities of our Icelandic ewes will produce some spectacular crosses! We will still be concentrating on producing wonderful pure-bred Icelandics, as they are my favorite but, I am hoping this will provide a bit more meatiness for our meat lambs. I am looking forward to next spring!
Images and information below are also from the North American Wensleydale Sheep Association….
Rams – 300 lbs.
Ewes – 250lbs.
Yearling ewe – 200%
Mature ewes – 250%
Twin lambs will average 13 pounds each at birth with a growth rate that enables ram lambs to reach 160 lbs. at 21 weeks.
Average lamb weight at 8 weeks:
Singles – 57 lbs.
Twins – 48 lbs.
Wensleydale wool is the finest and most valuable luster longwool in the world.
Micron count 33-35
Staple length 8-12 inches
Yearling Fleece Weight 13-20 pounds
Fleeces are entirely kemp free as a result of the unique characteristics of the wool-producing follicles. This special quality is genetically transmitted to cross-bred lambs, characterizing the Wensleydale ram as perhaps the leading wool improving sire in the world.
Wensleydale wool is used for its special effects and handle in hand knitting yarn, knitwear and cloth and sometimes in upholstery fabrics. Because of its similarity, it is regularly used to blend with mohair.
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