Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer like Weather

As I write it is 82 degrees F at 9:10 pm. Earlier today it was 89 degrees in Rhinelander. A big contrast to just a few weeks ago when we had snow! The snow is but a distant memory with it being almost 90 today.

During the day while I was out doing my route, when I would hear people almost, but not quite, complaining about the heat I reminded them of the snow we had just a few short weeks ago. One guy laughed and said "we were complaining then about the snow and now we're complaining about the heat, ha, ha". For the sake of any southerners reading here, you might be wondering what the big deal is but, up in this part of the country we think 90 is hot. When ever it gets warm here I remind myself of how cold we feel when it's 20 or 30 below zero.

All of our ewes had their lambs by May 16th. All together we had 7 lambs. And of course the baby stealer made life more interesting. When she had her own baby she did what we hoped she would NOT do and that was to reject her own lamb. Two years in a row now she has complicated our plans.
As I mentioned in a previous post Sophie, pictured at left stole one of Tess's twins. Sophie being more dominant than Tess was able to easily take the female lamb. Of course Sophie didn't have any milk yet so we had to bottle feed the baby for a number of days. At least we were glad that she was taking care of the little one in every other way, keeping her close by and watching over her. As Sophie approached her own birthing day her milk came in and the lamb was finally able to get real milk. We stopped bottle feeding her.
On the 16th when Sophie gave birth it was heart breaking to see her reject her own little one. It was a male. We only had two males out of the 7 lambs. He went from momma to momma seeing who might take him but, none would. He was still wet from being born so we restrained Sophie and let him nurse from her. We even rubbed his wet body all over her nose trying to get her to bond with him but she would have none of it and continued to reject him. So we began bottle feeding the little ram and continue until now. For days he kept trying to get one of the mommas to take him in. It was sad to see it. They kept butting him away.

By now though he has adjusted and eagerly awaits his regular feedings from one of us when we go out with a bottle. I think he might steal a drink of real milk from time to time though because I still see him try to get a little from the other ewes if they happen to come near enough. It was encouraging however, during those first few days when we saw a couple of the un-bred ewes letting him attempt to nurse them. They kind of acted like surrogate mothers and hung out with him.

Anyway, the rest of the ewes had no problems at all and the lambs are all growing fast. Whew!

So far the movable sheep pen is working well. I'm still a little anxious that the coyotes or wolves might find a way to get them though. And we have meat chickens on pasture, another group of young chicks in the brooder and turkeys in another up close to the house. We got 20 turkeys but, 4 of them died early on. They got chilled at the post office but, the rest seem strong now. The hatchery refunded our money for those 4 that died which was nice. The 16 remaining turkeys are 10 days old today. This warm weather is a plus for the young birds.

But, the predators are always lurking, always looking for an opportunity, an easy meal. I'm glad to say that in 8 weeks, if all goes well, we will be getting our LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog). It will be an 8 week old puppy however. But, I am eager to spend time training the pup to guard our place and flocks. It will take time to develop it into an effective guardian.

Until Next Time


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