One of the exciting parts of feeding at this time of year is scanning the flock and finding the ewes that have been marked by the ram in the previous 24 hours. Red is the color this week, and I can’t help but imagine the coming lambs when I spy a new red marking on the back of one of the ewes’ coats. Each new marking means another one to three lambs, and as I look at the dam, I begin to put her positive traits together with those of the ram in that field, imagining healthy lambs, gamboling in the spring sunshine. The reality doesn’t always play out as well as my imagination, but this time of year is all about the hope of what might be and a look towards a future that is full of possibilities.
My first stop each morning is at Osiris’ Romney group down in the Sheep Barn. He has a small group of Romneys who spend their days inside the barn eating hay and doing nothing but eating, sleeping, cudding and, hopefully, making lambs. When I entered this morning, a quick glance made it obvious that last night had been a busy night. My eyes immediately fell upon Obella. It was obvious that she had come into heat since yesterday morning — and that she had been well marked! She literally glowed red from the Osiris’ red breeding crayon!
Yet Obella wasn’t the only one glowing red. As my eyes scanned the sheep in the group, looking for more red, my glance happened upon Osiris. That boy had certainly been busy overnight! Not only was Obella sporting a heavy marking of red crayon — so was Osiris! His whole front half was covered in a definite red glow that matched Obella’s! I couldn’t help but smile — and to hope that the crayon (which has certainly has made its way through the weave of the coats) will wash out of their wool when shearing time comes! Happily, I’m left imagining the beautiful lambs they may have just created.