Friday, March 11, 2011

Farmer Fridays - Guest Post from A Latte with Ott, A

Today is another special edition Farmer Fridays as it features a guest post from one of The Real Farmwives of America and Friends. 

Ahhh… the month of March. Some may think of this month and have images of St. Patrick’s Day come to mind, while others may think of snow and cold or the start of spring, but this Real Farmwife of America thinks of March as the month for lambing season.
I’m Ott, A from the blog a Latte with Ott, A and my family has raised purebred Shopshire sheep on the same farm since 1919. All of our breeding stock are registered and we work hard to ensure true breeding characteristics in our bloodlines. Our sheep are raised to be sold as 4-H lambs or freezer lambs. And let me tell you no matter how cold and dark it is on these early March mornings nothing beats going out to the barn and finding freshly dropped lambs.
We keep our brood ewes (female sheep) outside the barn in smaller pastures with sheds so they can get out of the wind and rain. They have plenty of grain and water and can continue getting exercise while outside like this up until they have their lambs. Once they deliver their lambs they are moved inside the barn into a pen called a bonding pen. These are nice sized pens where the ewe and lambs are together by themselves with access to hay, feed and water. This time alone together allows the ewes and lambs to get to know each others scents and sounds so they know their mom from any of the others and visa versa. It also gives the farmer the ability to keep a close watch on the lambs and make sure they have figured out how to nurse (get milk) and that the lambs have gotten up and walked around. The ewe and lambs will be kept in this pen for 3-5 days depending on how well the lambs are doing. Ewes that have multiple births (twins or triplets) will say an additional day for each extra lamb they have. Twins are very common in our breed of sheep and we usually get one or two sets of triplets each year.
On the 2nd day in the bonding pen we give the lamb a couple of shots. These shots are for the lambs own health and well being. The first is a shot of vitamins; mainly Vitamin E and Selenium as these are deficient in our area. The other is a shot of tetanus, just like you and I would get at the doctors office, and this just helps ensure the lamb does not get lock-jaw.
Next the lamb will get an ear tag. You and I may have names, but our sheep have numbers and this helps identify them. We also use this number for our record keeping purposes. The tag goes in their ear which is cartilage and only hurts for a second, just like it only hurt momentarily when you got your ears pierced.
On the 3rd day, the lamb will get another shot; penicillin. At this time we will also put a rubber band on their tails. The tails are all cartilage and in female sheep the tail tends to get in the way when they go to the bathroom, and this can cause maggots and infection if left untreated. Also, in males the tails become a place where fat is stored and that is not desirable for getting the lambs up to market weight. The rubber band stops blood circulation to the tail and in a few days the tail will fall off on its own. Again the lamb only feels the pain for a few minutes and then is up running around again.

By the 4th day, if both the ewe and lambs are doing well they are ready to be moved into a creep. To learn more about the creep stage check out a Latte with Ott, A’s blog next Friday and she will explain that all in detail to you.

Thanks Ott, A!



  1. Great job explaining all that goes on on a sheep barn. Great pics too!

  2. Thanks for stopping by our farm today and showcasing our flock!!!!

  3. The lambs are so cute. I guess all animals need that time to bond. Good story look forward to the rest of the story.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Web Analytics