Thursday, May 7, 2009


We have almost finished lambing now , just two more to go. We are still holding the sheep off pasture, at least till Sunday, then we will be out of hay and will start grazing. Our open days have been going well with two more left we will be glad of a rest. Folks really enjoy the interaction with the animals and "kids" of all ages enjoy bottle feeding and playing with the lambs. Answering the many questions is fun and sometimes challenging though as a life time farmer it scares me how big the urban rural gap has become. On the prairies many people have family that still farm so are at least familiar with land and livestock, but here in BC many folks are several generations removed from the land and it shows in the questions and misunderstandings that we heard. This makes us realise the important task at hand and ahead to not only entertain but also educate all ages so as to fill in the huge gap between their plate and our farm gate.
The chicks that were little fluff balls for our first open day are now ugly half feathered teenage chickens, and after making another "chicken tractor" for them they are now outside weeding the grass in our young orchard, moved once a day they are doing a nice weed and feed job. Our goats are doing well and producing milk for our orphan lambs as well as raising their own kids. At noon I shut the does up away from the kids till after supper then milk them before reuniting them, this means there is a good supply of milk and I only have to milk once a day.
The lambing went well as many of the ewes are old hands, we had 8 sets of triplets and one set of quads, many twins and only a few singles, either from first time lamber's or old ewes. With this many multiple births we only had 4 bottle fed lambs (thank goodness) and a first in all my years, several sets of premature lambs, all of which were born fine but with no wool until at least 2 weeks of age. We did loose a couple early on due to poorly developed lungs but the rest are out with the main flock and doing fine. This is the first year I did not inject the pregnant ewes with Selenium Vitamin E three weeks before lambing and I suspect this may be the cause of the premature births. Selenium increases the level of Oxygen in the blood in the ewe and unborn lambs making birthing and "cleansing " of after birth easier as well as producing more vigorous lambs. This may well have caused the early births, so next year I will not be so cheap and use the S and E again. Any other stock men or Vets out there with comments I would love to hear from you.
With grazing only a few days away I will be sorting out electric fencing equipment and setting up the first few paddocks. Thankfully last night we had our first decent rain since March so the grass should start growing quicker now. Her is to a green spring for all the graziers out there.

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