Lambs Day 1 — A Perfect Day!

I woke up early today and was on the road right before 8 am. It was a beautiful morning drive and when I arrived at my friend Trudy’s place, I was greeted by this guy… he was born yesterday afternoon.

Before we got started dealing with this new lamb and a few ewes, we went and fed all the sheep (the ewes with lambs) in the paddocks near the barn. Then we headed out to the back pasture where all the pregnant ewes are kept.

We were greeted at the gate by Regina, one of Trudy’s guard dogs. Trudy said the fact that Regina was at the gate instead of with the sheep probably meant that there were no lambs.

That’s Regina and Elsa. They were playing and wresting with each other… so cute!

And she was right. So we fed the ewes grain and alfalfa and planned to come back later in the day to check on them.

Then we headed back to the barn and got busy.

First off I got to band the tail, attach an ear tag, and castrate that little lamb above. Most of the lamb’s tail is removed for health reasons. They’re left with a few inches. To do this, you use a special pair of pliers to place a thick but narrow rubber band on the tail. It will fall off in a week or so. Castration is done the same way. The same band is placed at the base of the scrotum… you have to make sure you’ve actually captured the testicles inside… they are slippery little devils and can suck right back up into the abdomen! And in a few seconds, it’s done. These little bits, too, will fall off in a week or so. I was so busy I didn’t get any photos of this banding process.

Next, I gave penicillin shots to two ewes with mastitis. Basically, an infection of the mammary glands.

Then Trudy milked the ewe above to get the infection out. It all looked so much better than it did yesterday. Fingers crossed this ewe is on the mend.

After that I tried my hand at milking a ewe who is producing a lot of milk but only has one lamb. The milk will be used to supplement lambs who are competing with twins or triplets for food. Once we had the rich milk in a bottle, I used a syringe with a flexible rubber tube attached to feed two lambs that needed extra nutrients. I fed the flexible tube into their mouths and down their throat…all the way into their stomach. the lambs sort of chew on and swallow the tube. Then I pushed the plunger on the syringe to send the milk into their stomach.

Here’s some cute lambs to let you imagine how happy they are will full stomachs!

Somewhere around this time I helped Trudy move a bunch of ewes with lambs from a paddock near the barn to a field where they could eat lots of lovely green spring grass. Trudy’s dog Wyatt helped us.

Trudy and Wyatt…

Before we took a break for lunch, Trudy had be get Rico out of the car and move about 20 sheep (not moms, and no lambs) from a pen near the barn to a field about 150 yards and several gates away. It wasn’t terribly difficult, but it’s really amazing to have a dog help with practical tasks instead of training exercises. It’s so fun to see all that training play out in a real l life situation.

They’re all waiting for me to open that gate. Rico is off to my left holding them… keeping them from running away. He was such a good dog.

After a nice lunch of a peanut butter and raspberry-jalapeno jelly, I worked Rico on some of Trudy’s sheep in her big field. We don’t get the opportunity to work in a big field like this very often. Rico was so amazing! I can’t believe how well he’s doing the last few weeks. We’re both having a blast. Here’s a video from our training session today.

What a good boy!

Even on a cool day like today, dogs get pretty heated up when they work sheep. Luckily, there’s a lovely pond right there to cool off.

It’s so much fun to live with happy dogs!

Ridiculously happy!

Then Trudy said I could take Bender and Rico into her pasture with a lot of trees to let them have a good run before we started back to work. Bender was very happy to get out of the car and stretch his legs.

They ran and ran and ran. And then they ran some more!

The didn’t want to stop, but when their tongues were on the ground, it was time to get back to work.

Once we finished lunch and training and a nice field run, we headed up to the back pasture again to see if any lambs had arrived since we checked this morning. And when we got to the gate, there was Regina… away from the sheep. Disappointed, we drove in and started taking a tour of the pasture. We noticed one ewe that was alone in the trees, away from the rest of the flock. A sure sign she either had a lamb or was in the process. No lambs with her.

But I looked along the fence line and I noticed a ewe up there by herself and I was SURE I saw some little legs among her legs.

But before we went to check on that ewe, we wanted to get the ewe in the trees to the other side of the fence so we could bring her down to the barn area since we knew she would have her lambs soon. It took a little while. Trudy and her dog Alice worked together to get the ewe separated from the rest of the flock, up the hill and out the gate.

On the left is Trudy trying to move that ewe who did not want to move. On the right you can see Regina, the guard dog.

Once that ewe was on the other side of the fence we headed off to find the ewe with the lambs. And there she was!!!

Those lambs are just a couple hours old! There’s a boy and a girl.

So now we had to get those lambs and their mom down to the barn. So we moved them along the fence line until we came to the “lamb wagon,” a small trailer with a wire dog crate strapped to it. The lambs go into the dog crate and the ewe follows along as you slowly drive through the field.

But first, I had to get a selfie with this cutie pie fresh lamb!

Ok… now onto the lamb wagon…

Isaac helped us move the two ewes and two lambs up the field. Who needs a herding dog when a guard dog can do the job?

Isaac also helped us load those lambs into the wagon.

There’s my boyfriend Isaac… the guard dog! He’s the sweetest thing! And I swear he’s part polar bear!

The ewe followed along nicely, and the other ewe that had been in the trees who should lamb any moment, came along with us. Trudy’s dog Alice followed along behind to keep it all moving along.

That’s Alice checking out one of those lambs.

Once we got them down to the barn I had the honor of castrating the male. Welcome to the world boy lamb!!! And I banded the tails on both of them and tagged their ears. The boy fell asleep in my arms… being born and getting castrated is hard work!

After all that trauma, mom and babies were reunited in a nice warm pen and both lambs fell asleep quickly.

After this couple hours of work I worked Rico again on the sheep. He was equally brilliant this afternoon. Once we were done we took the four sheep we had been working and took them through a few gates and into a pen near the barn. Trudy wanted them there to do some dog training after we left.

We were hoping that the ewe we thought would lamb would be having babies any moment, but the stress of moving had her thinking about other things. So I headed home, tired, hungry and a little cold.

When I got home, Trudy sent me this photo… that ewe had had her two lambs by about 7 pm. You can just see her two lambs in the dark corner off her left shoulder.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for lots of lambs in the morning. There are about 15 ewes left to lamb. The weather looks a little trickier tomorrow. Today was cloudy but dry all day. Tomorrow has rain starting around noon. All my rain and mud gear is in the car so I’m ready!

55 Replies to “Lambs Day 1 — A Perfect Day!”

  1. ❤️ I don’t know how you do it all! You make hats, bags and quilts. You train a dog to herd. You constantly exercise both 4-legged boys. You work on a farm tending Ewes and Lambs. What don’t you do!? ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m totally wowed reading about what you are doing with your friend. And the dogs, OMG what cute pictures of them. And your picture with the lamb…sooooo cute. You have Energy Bunny stamina! You go girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fascinating experience! No wonder you have been looking forward to this! What will eventually be the result of all of Rico’s training? Will you loan him to a sheep farm when they need a herding dog? Thank you for sharing the photos and story of this wonderful experience. It was very educational as well as entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I may show rico in sheep dog trials in the future. But truly, it’s just fun to train it. I love the process of training a dog. And sheep herding is incredibly challenging and equally rewarding. So the process of doing it is fun! Plus, I love getting out into a field with sheep on the weekends! it’s so much fun!

      thanks for reading!

      Anne

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  4. I look forward to your quilting diary, enjoy your humor, and learn from your color discussions but the “lamb day” was so wonderful – great pics, exciting to see the dogs doing their jobs, and love those sweet babies! Than you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this. I’m so interested. I didn’t know how much work it is to raise sgeep. Wow. Are all the lambs black instead of white? What breed are they? Good luck tomorrow

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trudy has different breeds of sheep and some mixed. Cluns. Cheviot crosses. Katahdans. Other crosses. The Katahdans are often multi colored. Many of the black and white ones are Katahdans or Katahdan crosses. The sheep Rico was working in the video are Shetlands. None of them had lambs.

      And yes… they are a ton of work! and property to maintain on top of that!

      Anne

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  6. I’m a city raised girl and your story is fascinating to read! Love the little lambs and dogs doing their jobs. I’m impressed by all you do, quilting and otherwise. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, Anne! What a wonderful busy day! I’m glad you had good weather and hope today will not be a washout. My husband and I enjoyed Rico’s video. The lie down seems to be his least favorite and that makes sense, having to stop when he wants to keep going. I’m glad Bender got to get out and run too. You’re really blessed 🥰

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  8. I loved reading about the sheep experience, such a difference from my daily life. I used to help my dad with his cows and pigs when I was a kid. So much work and I thought it was fun. But I only visited Dad, I was a city girl. I love the pictures of the babies and the dogs. A great blog today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a lot of work! I love doing it for two days but am glad I don’t have to do it for three weeks! I grew up in the country but not on a farm. I love the outdoors. Nothing better!

      Anne

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  9. Oh my goodness — what sheer pleasure to see Rico in action in the video!!! Good good doggies — you have such good dogs!!! I really enjoyed your post about your day with Trudy’s flock. What a fun friend and outing. You all made me happy just reading about it!!! Thank you for this!!

    Get Outlook for iOShttps://aka.ms/o0ukef ________________________________

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