Friday, December 4, 2009

It's official

Yesterday morning I loaded a bale of hay into my little cart, took it out into the field where the ewe lambs have been grazing and gave them their first taste of hay since last spring. Last year, because of the drought, I started feeding hay in September, which is much earlier than usual. Luckily for us, this past summer and fall have been unusually wet and the grass has continued to grow and stay green. In fact, the pasture where the alpaca boys and ram lambs are hanging out still has abundant grazing, but the little girls have been on "slim pickin's" land. As you can see by Teeny's expression, they were sooo happy to munch right into it.

Starting to feed hay basically doubles my barn chore time and is a sign that winter is officially here. There are plenty of mornings when it is cold or wet (or worse...cold and wet) and I don't want to leave the warmth of the house to go to the barn for morning chores. Nearly always a funny thing happens once I actually get there. I end up staying out much longer than I need to or even intend. I interact with the animals a lot more during the winter because I see them up close at least twice a day and that's a good thing for all of us. We all slow down and socialize a bit. You can see that Pippi is still her sweet, sociable self and is still coming to give sniffs and nuzzles when she sees me.

Tomorrow will officially mark the end of the breeding season here at Tanglewood Farm. Ollie has bred all but one of the ewes who have been pastured with him and none of them have recycled. One of the CVM ewe lambs has apparently not cycled in the three weeks since I put them into the breeding group and I've decided to give her a pass until next year. If she got bred at this point, she would be much later than the rest of the flock and would be lambing in early May, which I really don't want. Of course, taking Ollie away from the ewes means he will go back in with the other two rams and that can sometimes be traumatic. I'll write a post next week about how we handle putting the rams back together after breeding season.

I hope you all have just the kind of weekend you want and I'm hoping mine will be the right combination of productive and relaxing.

1 comment:

  1. We are starting to feed hay this weekend too. It was grand while it lasted, eh? ;-)