Any endeavor requires commitment in order to be successful. The past few months, my commitment to writing and posting blogs as been very little. My commitment to my sheep has been very strong. Being a sheep farmer is my first and most important commitment.
Fall lambing was scheduled to start in September 2021, but animals do not always follow our planned schedule. Fall lambing 2021 started with the first lambs arriving November 1, 2021. The last set of lambs arrived December 13, 2021. Why the late lambing?
Several sheep farmers in my area had the same late lambing and several open ewes as well. A few sheep farmers took their rams to the veterinarian to find a reason for the open ewes. The consensus was the really freezing temperatures in February 2021 that Texas experienced affected the rams.
The freezing temperatures had immediate affect on some ewes with the results of frostbitten teats, ending the ewes productive life. A ewe with no teats cannot nurse a lamb. I was fortunate to not have had ewes lambing or nursing during the freeze in February. My rams were affected some, as their testicles had some small scabs. I thought by the time breeding season would arrive they would be alright. The affected breeding season showed the rams were not a productive in sperm counts as they were the previous breeding season.
My Fall 2021 lambing was late and slow. I do not have a large number of ewes, so my ewe to ram ratio was low, approximately 10 ewes per ram for three months.
Lambing takes a commitment of time, checking ewes at various hours. When the ewes have lambed, I do the recording of birth weight, sex, and tagging of each lamb. I check on the ewes to make sure milk production is good and no mastitis occurs.
A week after the lambs start arriving, I set up a creep feeder. I have learned that providing creep feed to lambs is very beneficial to good growth up to and after weaning. Since we are in the winter months, there is feeding hay and supplements to all the sheep as grass is no longer growing.
Along with my sheep farming we had two homestead projects to get done before Christmas. One project was to get a new heating/cooling system for the house. This new system is more energy efficient than the old forced air furnace/cooling system that was in the house when we purchased our place eleven years ago. As a sheep farmer, I work at being energy efficient sheep farmer.
The second project was removing the 66 feet by 16 feet wooden deck at the back of our home. The moisture of our climate and age of the deck had caused some deterioration that was to the point of being dangerous. But since I am an efficient sheep farmer, I slowly took apart the huge deck to salvage as much wood for recycling into a bigger sheep shed. In place of the wooden deck, we had a cement slab put into place.
Both projects were completed before December 22. On December 23 we celebrated Christmas with family and friends by killing the fatted goat. I spent a day smoking the goat and preparing for goat tacos and Native American frybread tacos.
For 2022, I am making a stronger commitment to writing and posting blogs. I will be sharing lambing pictures and the progress of building a sheep shed to house up to 100 ewes. I will also share more of how I raise my sheep and some of my record keeping strategies that help me be a successful and profitable sheep farmer.
Wishing everyone a Prosperous and Happy New Year for 2022.