With the spring lambing I was reviewing the production records of my ewes. As I put in the information on the yearling ewes that are lambing, I was checking on the other ewes. I noticed some of my ewes are getting some years on them.
I have two registered full blood Dorper ewes, who are eight years of age. These two ewes always lamb out twins and never miss a breeding. I have kept their ewe lambs, although one does not have ewe lambs often. But there are several ewes who produce twins, good mothers and are getting up in years.
I am building my ewe flock to higher numbers, but I am also having to cull the older ewes. This last sale I took in three ewes, while still producing twins for me, their age was the time to sell. I take the older ewes to the sheep and goat auction. I usually get a good price as my sheep are well cared for.
The first sheep and goats to sell at the auction are the bottle babies, those who have been on a bottle or those who do not have a mother. This sale, the bottle babies were not very high in price. Some were in pretty rough shape, as a person could tell they did not feel well. People like bottle babies as they think the bottle babies will be tamer than other sheep. They want these bottle babies to be pets.
One little lamb that looked really good conformation and vitality came up for bid. Unlike the bottle babies, this little two to three week old lamb was hard to catch. The auction was not getting the regular starting bid. As the asking starting bid sank lower, I thought this lamb is the age of the lambs being born, and would make a good feeder. I bid. I won the bid at $30.00 USD. I had a little lamb.
I placed this little ewe lamb in the trailer, with water. There was a feeder tub with crumbs left over from the ewes I had dropped off the day before. She was comfortable and I went to watch the rest of the auction.
Upon getting this lamb home, I thought I might graft her onto a ewe who had lost her lamb during birthing three days before. First, I gave this little ewe lamb some probiotic, a CDT vaccination and an energy drench to give her a boost after going through the auction. Next was to introduce her to the ewe I hoped would become her mother. When I tried to get the lamb to nurse the ewe, the lamb would not have anything to do with the ewe. I would try in the morning when the lamb would be hungry.
The next morning, the little lamb was hungry and nursed. I had them penned together, after holding the ewe for the lamb to nurse, I fed the ewe. The little lamb would hang in there at the feed tub with the ewe, enough though the ewe would push her away, she would come right back.
I would catch up the ewe several times during the day to get the lamb to nurse, sometimes the lamb drank, most of the time she did not. This little lamb has not looked “empty” or had dished in flanks from an empty stomach. The lamb was eating hay and grain, and not really hungry. She would push and stay to eat with the ewe, not giving way as most little lambs do when the ewes push them away from the feed trough or hay manger. I named this little ewe lamb Tuff.
Today after four days, I turned them out with the other lambs and ewes. I have a creep feeder for the lambs already set up. Little Tuff found the creep feeder and the hay feeder I have set up inside a creep area. She found the way into the creep area and was eating.
Little Tuff will be put into my ewe flock with the other ewe lambs born during the spring lambing.