Tag Archives: gestation

Hiding in plain sight

Today is the first potential day of lambing, so although I’m still skirting fleeces, my mind is turning to thoughts of new lambs. A lot of work goes into preparations for the new arrivals, and nothing is as important as the level of nutrition for each and every ewe so that she and her upcoming […]

More ultrasound results

As mentioned in Friday’s blog, we ultrasounded our ewes nearly one week ago, giving us an idea of the lambing season to come. This information not only allows us to feed each of the ewes according to her needs, saving us money on feed in the long run. But it also helps as each ewe […]

Hardly the end of parasites

In a typical year, once the cold weather comes to Iowa with its snow and sub-zero temperatures, we can stop worrying about internal parasites. I’ve written often this year about the problems that last summer’s hot and wet weather created in producing the “perfect storm” for these icky critters. Although we have been selecting for […]

Feeding during gestation

Probably the easiest error to make in the early years of shepherding is to provide the wrong level of nutrition to the gestating ewes. This is typically a “rookie mistake” that occurs once or twice as the shepherd learns the intricacies of gestational requirements. Unfortunately this learning curve can occur at the expense of the […]

Breeding season begins!

Our breeding season began yesterday as we gathered all of the ewes and checked them over one last time before dividing them into their breeding groups. We dewormed any who needed it, changed coats, trimmed dirty wool tags, and generally cleaned each girl up as her turn came, finally weighing her just before putting her […]

Calculating hay

A farm’s hay quota must be calculated long before the feed is needed. In the early years — with only three sheep — we didn’t use much hay, so locating enough and getting it into our barn was not a big issue . We could just make arrangements in fall. Now with one hundred sheep […]

A hay decision

Making hay is a pretty exact science. If the hay is cut too early, the yield from that field is less than what it could have been, reducing the output for the work invested. If the hay is cut too late, the palatability and nutritional content fade quickly, reducing its quality for animal feed. Timing […]