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Brooding Ewes

Posted 3/15/2009 9:15pm by Catskill Merino.
Brooding Ewes
Waiting...
 
No lambs today. Odd. Usually I'll find early arrivals. Tomorrow marks 5 months since the rams joined the ewes.  I look in on the ewe flock more often now, waiting too.
 
The temperature today was in the high 50's and dry; this is good weather to lamb outside, but as insurance we lamb near a barn to bring lambs and ewes inside if they are having trouble during inclement weather; an absence of problems at parturition and good weather means no barn and no special care for the sheep. When a ewe has a good birth and a healthy lamb, all we do is dip the lamb's navel in iodine, eartag it, record the ewe's number and let mom & lamb(s) go.  This is what I call modified pasture lambing where we help those who need help and let the rest do what they do best, be sheep.  Pasture lambing means letting nature take her course and that road leads to life or death; but with a small flock of 200 lambing ewes I can help the weak, and I do.
 
Notice the blow marks of shearing: good shearers leave ridges of wool on the sheep rather than taking another blow to slick shear the sheep (making it look pretty & well shorn), thereby losing this short wool (called a 2nd cut) between the slats of the skirting table.  
 
We will keep wool to spin that has a staple length of 3"; anything shorter is devalued or lost.  If a shearer leaves wool on a sheep, it will be there to shear next year; good shearing looks like sloppy shearing to the unschooled eye.