Springtime!

Yesterday was finally the day that the ewes and lambs got to go out on my little bit of pasture for the first time this year. I’ve got close to 5 acres, but only a small portion is fenced off for the sheep. I’ve got time OR money; the 2 rarely seem to coincide. Add in a bad back, and the result is not nearly enough places fenced off to give the poor beasties access to the grass. Hopefully, with Kid the Elder in residence, I will be able to get a little more done this year.

The ewes know the routine. My 2 drylot pens are across the alleyway from the pasture. I have orange fencing that I can string across and let either group across, and as soon as I start stretching it out, all the big sheep are at the gates, hollering.  The lambs mostly get out of the way of the stampede, and I shoo them across afterwards, at least for the first couple of times.

Once across, the ewes settled into the first high batch of grass and tucked right in.

 They didn’t venture very far, but then I only let them out for a couple of hours. This is a treat, not a substitute for feeding hay unfortunately.

 

After a little time with mom showing them what to do, the lambs went off on their own, and the lamb races were amazing (but hard to catch with the camera) 

Getting them back in the drylot is amazingly simple. They see me carry a grain bucket into the barn (for the lambs) and lay out hay and they clamber at the gate. Of course, once across they protest mightily before finally going after the hay, but they will do it day after day. The rams were very upset about not being included in the fun, but they’ll get their turn too (the alpaca isn’t nearly as easy to move back across).

My other big news is that last Saturday I went to the Goat Jamboree, to take a couple of classes on making goat milk cheeses. They were doing a couple of raffles, so I bought some tickets and divided them out between the things I was interested in. I won an Alpine doeling! I can’t pick her up until early June, but then I’ll be able to have my pick of 6 that were born in March. I’ve got a lot of research to do between now and then, since I’ve never owned a dairy goat, only Angoras. I’m getting excited about the prospect of having fresh milk, and the lady that taught the cheese classes wants to trade cheese for a fleece, so hopefully we can stay in touch and I can learn a few things from her as well. I’ve already been told that I am expected to show my new goat at the county fairs, so more learning to do there too.

 

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One Response to “Springtime!”

  1. Leigh Says:

    So funny about the sheep. Routine is a wonderful tool.

    So fantastic about the doeling! We probably would have gone into Alpines if we weren’t interested in Kinders. You will love having fresh milk and you will love having home crafted cheeses!

    Great trade too, cheese for fleece! You’ve got a win-win every way around.

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