Waiting for Spring

It’s almost May.

The grass has been taking its time in growing, but the lambs haven’t.  It pains me to see my tired ewes nursing their enormous lambs.

We began vaccinating our flock for Clostridium C+D plus Tetanus last week.  Matt and I hauled in the scale he built us and weighed each lamb.   Our lambs ranged from 60 lbs to 20, with the smaller lambs being younger.  In order to have some data that’s more useful than strict weight, I made a spreadsheet comparing days in age to current weight.  I admit I omitted birthweight.  Aside from animals born clearly outside the norm (huge or tiny), birthweight hasn’t been that helpful as a general measurement for me.  In any case, the sheep ranged from .49 to .99 in growth rate.  Meaning some weigh a pound for every day of age, others a half-pound.  Even my non-standard metric shows us a little bit about who is thriving and who isn’t.  We’ve begun efforts to supplement all of the lambs on the low end.

To double down on my New Sheep Math, I’ve also gone through and added up the total lamb-growth for all moms.   It seems like a helpful way to look at which ewes are working the hardest, feeding up to 1.81 lbs of lamb growth/day in a way that controls for lamb age (vs total weight, which would make the oldest lambs look better than the youngest).  Have I mentioned how much I love a good spreadsheet?

While we wait for pasture, I am lucky enough to have my 2019 yarn back from the mill.  This year, we asked to have it unskeined, on cones.  So I have massive cones of yarn to skein, wash, dye and organize.  It’s good, clean fun while I agonize about our hay supply and the ewes yearning for fresh grass.  By the by, I need to shout out my friend Laini Fondiller, who connected me with a neighbor of hers with some extra hay.  It’s just enough to stave off starvation and rioting in the barn, so I am grateful for a good farmer friend.

And of course, for those wondering, Dad is going really well.  This week is a pile of appointments, but he is looking and feeling stronger.

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Patient Bethlehem wishes I’d just let her go outside
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Is it just me, or does Chloe look like a victim of cabin fever?
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This cute fella wants to romp and play- grow faster, grass!
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