Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ladies in waiting

Shearing day is one of those yearly events I love to hate. I'm so happy to harvest the fleeces that have taken a year to produce, but it takes several days of flat out hard work to get through it. I spent Friday preparing the barn and getting set up for the shearer, then all day Saturday skirting, labeling and bagging the fresh fleeces. Friends who live nearby were using the same shearer and graciously came to help, then after we all had a late lunch here, we went to their farm and did it all over again. It made for a long, but satisfying day.

It's difficult to judge body condition when the sheep are in full fleece, so the first thing I look for is whether the ewes are in good shape and have been getting enough nutrition. I will say that we rarely have an animal who does not give their best effort at mealtime. Everyone on this farm seems to have a good appetite, and that includes the people :-) All the pregnant girls look to be about right and the yearlings (those silly teenage girls) are growing into a nice looking bunch of ewes. The first morning out of the barn after they were shorn, the yearlings really kicked up their heels. They ran, they jumped, they butted heads! So silly and so much fun to watch. I know they are healthy when they have the energy for that. The "ladies in waiting" didn't do any jumping or running, but did seem to step a little livelier. Losing 10-12 pounds in just a few minutes will do that, I guess! With all that wool gone, it is really obvious that we will be having lambs very soon. The lambing pens are set up, my supplies are gathered and now we wait.

And here are the bad boys, with poor Buddy thrown in to referee. They've been confined like this since Saturday and I'm thinking I might let them out into the back barnyard to see how they behave. Buddy is the big boy we wethered last year after he had bred the ewes and he is still a sweet and gentle giant. My hope is that he will be a calming influence on the two young rams and they'll quit all that butting and shoving. I'll let you know how that works out!


  1. I wish I could lose 10 lbs in a few minutes!!! They must feel great with all the wool gone.

    I love seeing the new lambs and kids on the blogs I follow, and can barely wait for yours!

    Nancy (sheepless) in Iowa

  2. They all look so happy! I can't wait to get started, with wee lambies!
    Hannah (another lady in waiting) in KY

  3. Nancy and Hannah-hopefully I'll be able to get pictures of newborns on here next week. I can hardly wait!