Monday, April 24, 2006
Along with flowers, when spring comes, baby animals follow. In our case, most of the calves were born at the end of winter but lambs came with spring. Our small flock, of about 17 sheep, are small in stature and the males have horns. Their wool is white to shades of black and brown and liked by spinners. Hopefully come May, we can find someone who shears small flocks as that can be hard to come by. Some shearers work the Northwest now for big flocks and then head to Australia.
Most sheep raisers dock lamb tails which means cut off or put on a small band to have the tail drop off. This particular breed of sheep do not naturally grow long tails. There has been some controversy over whether docking the tails is necessary anyway. We bought a few sheep with tails and found out it didn't make them one bit dirtier, nor added to any lambing problems. In this flock, Rain's little lamb really does have a tail to wag.
When I was out getting photos, I heard what sounded like baby coyotes yipping on the hill behind our farm-- reminding me of the coyote mothers' need to feed their young. That took some of the enjoyment out of watching the lambs. At this time of the year, many things threaten the little ones. Because of predator losses, these sheep are allowed down around the house. I already had to fence my gardens because of deer and decided I liked the sheep this close when it means they are also safer.
A lamb's life is all about food from mommy, sampling new grass and playing together. They form lamb gangs; and while their mothers go looking for them, they are already ignoring them to be with the other 'kids.' The mother's plaintive cries can upset us too as we count lambs to be sure all are here.