Readers may recall our previous post about two older ewes we have and our concerns for their ability to bear their lambs in 2020.
Well, I am happy to report that most of the flock is doing really well. Ewes are gaining weight and gathering strength. Now is the point in gestation where the demands of the growing lambs are increasing, so we are increasing the amount and quality of feed. Soon, we’ll be offering some grain along with hay and haylage.
K and J, however, are doing a little less well. I noticed last week that K was losing a bit of weight and was clearly being outcompeted at the feeder by bigger, stronger ewes. J is still holding her own, but I know that as the other ewes grow stronger still, she could begin to lose out as well. So Matt and I decided to take action. We tidied up a disused portion of the ram barn and set out thick bedding. We ran a cord for a water de-icer and we picked up some of the best hay from the most popular bale in the barn. Then we ran out to the feed store. Here is where I need to thank horse-loving folks for prompting our feedstore to carry a plethora of tempting, palatable foods that horses and sheep alike would appreciate. We chose a bag of finely chopped alfalfa for our gals, knowing that a lack of teeth (J has two, K three) won’t prevent them from utilizing the nutrition.
At first, the ewes were naturally nervous due to their separation from the flock. Oliver the ram was concerned that we had taken some of his gals away. But as soon as each noticed the big bin of hay and the tasty treats on top, they soon forgot about anxiety and began to fill up. We are taking the feed-increase slowly so we don’t cause bloat or laminitis (which sheep can develop). Hopefully, we can reverse the decline in K’s condition and prevent J from following suit. When I checked them a few hours after moving to their new luxury suite, both were contentedly chewing cud with nice full bellies to show me.