Merry Christmas to ewe from the Farm!
Preparations Before Christmas
Ending Christmas is the beginning of getting ready for the next new exciting thing here... Lambing! Not to rush through Christmas at all, but we are preparing for all the delights afterwards to avoid planning during all our Christmas festivities.
So, first things first: This year we built new sheep feeders! These are from Premier1 plans and hopefully will eliminate soiled feed and much waste. We used goat panels and cut them accordingly to save on costs as shown in pictures, and we added plywood to the racks at the top (not in pictures) to help eliminate vegetable matter in the wool as well. Merry Christmas Sheep! Check mark.
Now for the lambs. We bought an old 70's style porch fence and rail made of iron to use across the stall entrance for a more reliable creep feeder. This will allow our lambs constant and easy access to feed and supplemental milk while limiting the ewes to their section in the barn. Motivated hungry ewe moms would have a difficult time pushing through and breaking these openings as they did last year on the cattle-panel gate opening that we fashioned. We have decided to stall our brown Finn ewes at night who are still a bit new to us here (though they've been here since last Spring!) New sheep always take about a year to really settle in and adjust to the new pastures, feed, altitude, etc. They are able to rejoin the rest of the flock during the day and graze, but we want to take no chances with these girls. Thus, our brown trio gets a bit more access to feed without competition in preparation for our first ever brown Finn lambs. So exciting! New bucket feeder nipples are being ordered in case we have the need, and the lamb sweaters are almost finished being sewn! We selected old woolen sweaters of the right thickness and size from the local thrift store and generally followed a pattern we found online (made a bit smaller for our smaller Finn lambs.) Lambing early means being prepared for colder temperatures. For our lambs, we find that wool is the solid choice for best warmth! No surprise there. The ewe moms are always curious about the different wool on their lambs, but have no trouble smelling just who is who. Merry Christmas lamb-to-come! Check mark.
And then sometimes there are Christmas presents that you would rather just do without. This is what our Cormo sheep Maura thinks! You see, we were gifted with some previously loved sheep coats. These coats help to keep fleeces from from extra falling hay, etc. Maura is one of the chosen ones. Maura wishes that we had not picked her out of the bunch, but alas, ugly Christmas sweaters and coats seem to be a thing of the past, present, and future!
On and beyond coats, we are lining the sheep up for more checks and copper boluses that are due. And the all important selenium which helps to really ensure strong lambs born! So far so good! The sheep have endured, and now we have winterized their barn. the open windows have been closed. Hay is stacked and loaded for the winter adding to the insulation. The breezeway is no longer windy, and heat lamps and new bulbs are at hand. Merry Christmas to ewe(s)! Being in the barn is a delight, and lamb checks will be soon following!
This blog chronicles our very full life here on WoodSong Farm. We will share everything from dog to sheep stories, unique wooly works, to animal husbandry tips we pick up along the way. I hope this helps to give you an idea of what our extended farm family and wooly projects are like, and that we may somehow benefit everyone who reads about our journey.