Here We Go - Pasture Lambing

I was holding my breath when I went out to check the first new lambs in the morning. Would I find ewes and lambs or had I fed them to the lions (or in this case, the coyotes).

Well, Diesel stayed with the lambs, and Glory had come over to join him. So three dogs stayed ahead with the flock and two ended up watching over the lambs. Remarkable creatures. At times like these, these dogs are priceless to a sheep rancher. Many farmers groan at paying top dollar for working dogs (stock dogs or LGD’s) but in keeping these four lambs safe overnight Diesel has almost paid back his purchase price. In keeping the flock of ewes relatively safe from harm year round, they have paid us back a hundred fold.

Over twenty lambs are on the ground already. Since we caught up on all our tagging (link to post) the binoculars (to read tags from a distance) and my notebook, plus elastrator rings and the elastrator tool, are my main lambing tools.

I’m catching the lambs that I can find and castrating and docking tails when they are a couple days old. I can still catch them at two days old (one more day and they’re able to cut and dart out of reach). Earlier than two days is too young for the lamb and too disturbing to the pair, causing some ewes to abandon the lamb after I’m done with it. These animals are not in jugs, pens or corals so if they decide to leave a lamb, they leave it. Without reliance on pens to control the outcomes, you have to read your animals well.

I’m trying to make drift lambing work. I don’t have the land base that rangeland sheep ranchers have so I’m using portable fencing instead. I have six paddocks set up without having to move fencing. Four are smaller, two are larger. If I had more portable fencing I’d cut the larger ones in half as well.

I could create paddocks as I go but I’d rather spend less time on moving portable fencing, and check on ewes and lambs instead. So I’m going to leave the netting set up as I have it and make six paddocks work if I can. To do this means I will have to bring Diesel back to the pairs each night. If that works, it would be swell.

Sorry for the lack of photos - the camera is still out on the Ranger and I'm enjoying this moment off of my feet. I'll grab it next time out. Here is one from a year ago. The scene looks pretty much the same right now.