This second semester of the year is off to a running start and I am already loving every minute of it. One of the coolest things I have gotten to do so far though would have to be lambing! That’s right, you heard me correctly! This ranch girl has tried her hand at lambing… with real sheep and everything! I have enjoyed the pleasure of dealing with sheep in the past but mostly in terms of letting my dogs chase them in circles. Lambing is a whole different game. Through my college program, I have done two shifts down on a local sheep farm south of Lethbridge and it definitely has been interesting. The farm has about 130 head of ewes to lamb out and things are off to a running start already.
Lambing out ewes is definitely different than calving out cows in a few ways. They’re smaller, louder and a lot more maintenance! Obviously with every species of animal, there will be mothering issues after birth but sheep take it to a different level. After lambing, each ewe is confined to a small “mothering” pen with her offspring. They remain in these pens for around two to three days so they can develop a strong bond. So, when lambing out 130 head in a little over a month, that means that there has to be a lot of individual pens. A lot of individual pens means a lot of individual feeding and watering and a lot of manual labour! Did I mention that the breed of sheep we were dealing with (Polypay) are notorious for having multiples? So most of the ewes have at least two or three lambs to raise. Lambs! Lambs everywhere! – Not that I am complaining though…. Dare I say it; those little things might be cuter than calves even!
Needless to say, I am looking forward to where this semester takes me! We have the Tiffin conference coming up along with the Manure Management update and numerous other exciting events. Listening to industry leaders talk about the Beef Industry itself is a great way to learn!
Well, after my brief experience with lambing, I have to say, there may be room for a few sheep on my place in the future! They are a great implement for improving rotational grazing and they are fun to work dogs on…..
Until next time, keep on keeping on! I’ll do my best to make my posts a bit more frequent! :-)