Day One of Lambs

Have I ever mentioned how much I love lambs? Well, I love them a lot!

I was on the road at 8 am today and made it to my friend Trudy’s farm around 9 am. I saw lambs before I even got my car parked!

Does this face look happy to you?

After oohing and awing at lambs for a minute we started our day with feeding the sheep. We fed the ewes who have had their lambs over the last week and are in paddocks near the barn first. Then we grabbed a couple buckets of grain and some hay, hopped in the four wheeler and headed out to a back pasture where the pregnant ewes are held… and most likely some lambs that were born overnight.

There must have been at least 20 pregnant ewes in this pasture. But I was pretty sure I could see some tiny little legs among all the ewe legs. And sure enough, there were two brand new lambs in with the flock.

OMG! They are so tiny and so beautiful! And it’s amazing how well they get around. Here’s a little video of these fresh babies. I love how their mother is so attentive to them.

After getting this group fed we headed back down to take care of some of the lambs that were born yesterday and their moms.

The ewes are wormed after lambing and they get their feet trimmed. And the ram lambs get their little testicles banded (a thick rubber band is placed around the base, and then they will fall off in a week or so). The female lambs have their tails banded. Each lamb gets an ear tag with a number that is used to identify them. Here’s all the tools and supplies that are used.

I actually got to band one of the tails and banded two ram lambs’ private bits. I put ear tags on three lambs.

There are special tools for each of these tasks. For banding, you slip a small yet thick rubber band onto special pliers and open it up, pull the lamb’s scrotum through the open band, making sure the testicles are actually in there, and then you close the pliers which closes the band around the base, and then slip the pliers off. Putting the ear bands on is very similar to getting your ears pierced.

Here’s a video of Trudy putting iodine on a lamb’s umbilical cord, banding him, and giving him an ear tag.

At the time she does all of this with the new lambs, she also worms the ewes and trims their feet. It can be tricky to catch a sheep so it’s handy to have a dog who can help out. Here’s Alice holding everyone in place while Trudy gets ready to move in.

Trudy’s dogs Alice and Wyatt were with us all day and helped out a lot! It would be so hard to do all this work without these working dogs.

There’s a lot of physical work involved in owning animals. Trudy caught this ewe with a leg crook (the blue hook in the photo) then flipped her onto her butt where she sat calmly while she was wormed and had her feet trimmed.

Here’s another ewe getting the same treatment.

Once you get the ewes into this position they are amazingly cooperative. But even then, Trudy says she’s usually sore and tired at the end of the day.

Another task that needed to be done today was to “tube” a couple of triplet lambs who were competing with their larger triplet for milk. Trudy fed a rubber tube down their throat and used a syringe to feed some colostrum to them.

You have to have a lot of different skills when you have a sheep ranch!

Trudy has three guard dogs that keep her sheep and lambs safe from predators — a great Pyrenees, a Maremma, and an Akbash. This is Isaac. He is an Akbash. He is very young, very large and very sweet. I think his head is about the size of a basketball!

Have I mentioned that I like dogs?

At around noon we took a break and I got Rico out of the car so we could do a little herding… this picture shows what a gorgeous day it was! It was cool enough that I wore a light fleece all day. Perfect weather for being outside all day. And look at that incredible sky! It was like that all day long.

And for the first time in his life, Rico got to herd GOATS!!! I was afraid that there would be goats flying all over the place, but he was such a good boy! He had them all nicely organized and did amazing work!

Apparently, goats can be more difficult to herd than sheep. But Rico was cool as a cucumber.

After a quick lunch and giving Trudy a chance to train some client dogs, we headed back out to the back pasture to bring those new lambs and their mom down to join the other moms and babies.

The first thing we had to do was separate the new mom and her babies from the rest of the ewes. That part went really well and we had the lambs loaded in the trailer and were ready to go in no time.

What usually happens is that you drive the four wheeler slowly and the ewe follows behind because she wants to stay with her lambs. But some times it can be more challenging. This one started out pretty well, but the mom got nervous and jumped the fence and went back and joined all the pregnant ewes.

So that meant we had to go back and separate that ewe from all the pregnant ewes and bring her back to her babies. We ended up bringing her back with some of her preggo friends and were able to make the trek back to the other lambs successfully… we even picked up some goats along the way!

And Wyatt helped make it all run smoothly!

After taking care of those brand new lambs and their mom, we hopped in the four wheeler and headed into another pasture to check on a fence that had been smashed by an oak tree that fell in last year’s ice storm. After pulling some branches off the fence and making sure it was secure, we were done for the day.

I got home at around 4:00. After our evening walk, Trudy messaged me a photo of a yearling and her lambs that were born after I left.

And then she sent me this video of moving this mom and her new babies down to join the other ewes and lambs. I love how Alice is helping move them along and how the mother is so protective of her babies.

I am so excited to go back tomorrow! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for lots of new lambs born over night and waiting for me when I get there.

51 Replies to “Day One of Lambs”

  1. That IS a lot of work! I thought having cats was tough. Lol!
    Sooooo….what’s up with this nut strangling thing???? I’d hate to be the one that has to pick em up! Maybe they should start teaching that technique in women’s defense classes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I do love these animals and the dogs. I originally began following you through quilting but now I enjoy your love of animals as well. Your dogs are beautiful fellas and seem to have good personalities! You are very devoted to the things you enjoy. Enjoy your weekend to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing all the excitement of baby lambs! I learned so much about what goes into raising and caring for these animals! Enjoy tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, thank you for this post. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Watching Alice keep that mama moving along was amazing. This was a great glimpse into a life that’s totally foreign to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow-what a lot of work yet fun at the same time! They are all lucky to have such a good owner. The videos are such fun to watch. Did Bender get to go too? Enjoy your second day! πŸ₯°πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bender did get to go. We got a nice hike today before we headed home. But he is not allowed around livestock. He is not to be trusted! He just like to chase them and won’t come when called!
      Anne

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  6. Amazing amount of work & time involved in lambs- I had no idea! Thx so much for sharing this interesting side of animal reproduction care. Your friend is so blessed to have you helping her. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lots of work! A labor of love. Thanks for sharing- it’s good to see how things are done in reality…us “city folk” don’t realize all that goes in to raising our food and other products. Those dogs are amazing, too!

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    1. Oh yes. There are a lot of things that are completely invisible to the general public. Trudy thinks that I work with at least a couple of people who have castrated lambs. I’m pretty sure I don’t! It’s hard for her to imagine being around a group of people and none of them have castrated a lamb!
      Anne

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      1. Too funny. My daughter has a friend who’s family has a cattle ranch in Montana- they have Testicle Festival every year- I need to go to that at least once in my life!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Fabulous amazing day you had lambing. It makes me want a lambing vacation! Trudy is so well organized and her dogs are so well trained. Rico was amazing too! Yes – did Bender go too? So glad it was beautiful weather for you. I know Trudy has a tough job day in and day out no matter the weather. Tell Trudy hello and thank her for her goat/lamb commitment! Not a job for sissy’s.

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  9. Oh my gosh it sounds like the best day ever! We call these kind of days “Gracie Days” after our neighbors golden retriever that would get so excited when she could spend the night with us. Her tail would wag and wag and wag whenever we went across the street and told her OK which meant she could run to our house.

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  10. Thanks for your commentary and photos. I’ve done some of this work too, but on a very limited scale – a few goats. I particularly loved that last video of the ewe following her lambs and going back to check that the dog wasn’t a threat. Such a treat of farm life. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ah—your friend is Trudy Viklund in Molalla! I had the pleasure of having my rough collies trained on occasion when she was working at Brigand’s Hideout in Battle Ground, WA. Beautiful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My rough collies, who have now “aged out” of herding, enjoyed working with Trudy very much. I would love to watch a trial there! And see the baby lambs!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, what a delightful day. Thank you.
    I’ve done my share of goatkeeping and hoof trimming, and I know what hard work it is. We only had a few, not a herd of preggers sheep.
    I love seeing this story today.

    Liked by 1 person

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