First lambs of the year!

norcalconifersJanuary 31, 2009

On Monday my beautiful two year old blackface gave birth to twin males. One is just HUGE! Both are healthy and the momma is doing a good job. Last year we had to tackle her sister, rub her babies poop on her nose and "manually attach" her babies to her udder before she would feed them properly. No such problems this year! It looks like my eldest ewe is going to drop her babies/babies this week, but she is laying down quite abit and looking unsteady.

Two more getting close. Maybe we will get six this year. One to add to the flock, one to eat and four to sell!


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Just one question how do you choose!!?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 12:46PM
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I pick the biggest boy to eat. I do not castrate him, or bob his tail. No trauma. They tend to get big quite quickly. I have one crossbred ewew, who always seems to drop the meatiest fellows. So, typically I eat her first boy. Last years little hulk weighed almost 80 pounds.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 1:59PM
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How do you decide which one to keep?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 7:12PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

Congrats on healthy lambs arrival.

Couple questions. First are the sheep purebreds or crosses? Any special breeding in them?

Next would be why would you put him in the freezer when he is so small? I know some breeds just don't get that big, but the Hamps and Suffolks with blackfaces, do get fairly large as lambs. This gets you more freezer meat when he is finished.

I would not usually be done with him, weighing only in the 100# range. For meat, we usually have crossbred lambs, and they are marketed in the 130 to 150 pound range. Gives you about 70+ pounds of meat. Lambchops large enough that one is enough for a serving to each person.

Ours are castrated and have tails docked, so all gain goes into meat production, not growing hormones or fat storage in the tail.

I am saying this, because most of their feed is grass from grazing. They do get some grain, lamb pellets, some hay, but not huge quantities. The grass is nice, lots of it, kept mowed so it doesn't go to seed. We barn them at night to prevent predators getting them. Lots of neighbors with dogs they don't contain.

The taste of lamb stays good until they start to get their adult teeth. Once they have adult teeth, animal tastes like candle wax. Blech! That extra time gives you a lot of free grazing time for growth, more freezer meat. We kept some almost 9 months, tasted excellent, lots of weight gain on them, so freezers were FULL. Just an idea for you to consider.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 3:20PM
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The fat in the tail is interesting. We found that as we docked tails when they were to young, we lost more. Last year we only lost one at that was due to defects, no lower jaw.
We do not put them in the freezer at 80 pounds, I should have said he dressed out at 80 pounds.
My Ram is a cross of suffolk and something else, but he looks like a purebreed. One of the ewes is a cross of suffolk and something else, don't know what, but she is lighter in color and shorter as well. She sure makes good babies! We have added one more lamb, the aforementioned cross, but one of her twins had his cord tangled around his neck, and we didn't see the birth, so he died.
We are expecting one other to drop later today. According to my breeding book, the last ewe will not have hers for 2 more weeks, but we have found that once they start, they all seem to drop around the same time.
Ours are almost exclusivly grass feed. I do supplament with some alfalfa when the babies come. Just started that this morning.
We add 'wet' grain about 1 month before slaughter. In the past I have paid to have them cut and wrapped, but with prices the way the are, I will be doing that myself.
We get between $125-150 per lamb.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 3:43PM
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If you've got power out in the barn a easy way to know when the lambs are coming is to use a baby monitier. You will hear a difference in the noise level and the type of sounds your ewes are making.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 4:01PM
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No barn....Just a wind shelter. We are in zone8/9 here.
No mountain lions or bears, we are close to an airport. Biggest predator besides me, is my dog. He knows to watch out for the lambs, not to eat them.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 5:19PM
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