November is here, fall is here and winter is close at hand. November greeted us with rain and colder temperatures. In north central Texas, November is when the rain starts arriving and I am thankful for the small amount of rain the area has received the past two weeks. Yesterday was the first day of colder temperatures.
November is also when my second group of ewes is to start lambing. While most of this group have lambed before I have three or four that are first time ewes. I am always excited about lambing. Since I raise Dorpers, a hair sheep, lambs are my only source of income from the sheep.
It is not only the income that excites me. I love to watch lambs play. Their hopping, jumping and bouncing around show the shear joy of living life. Watching the lambs always brings a smile to my face. If only I could live each day with their enthusiasm in acts of joy.
This group of lambs is the first for one of the rams I purchased this year, Jumbo. I am looking forward to see if the choice of ram for my ewes was a good and profitable choice. I want to answer the big question “Did I improve my genetics with the purchase of this ram?” As a sheep breeder, I strive to improve the conformation and growth rate of my sheep along with other traits.
The ram I purchased last fall, Max, has had two lamb crops to date. The big question on if Max was a good purchase has been answered with a definite “Yes”. I am hoping the answer is the same for Jumbo.
With lambing in November and December I need my lambing kit ready. The iodine, ear tags and probiotics are all ready for this new group of lambs to arrive. Along with the lambing kit, I need to have heat lamps ready just in case the weather is too cold and humid for newborn lambs. The humidity in the area where I live is more dangerous than just cold temperatures. The moisture in the air does not allow for the lambs to dry off when they are born, draining the much needed heat and energy from their bodies.
One task that needs to be completed this November is building some ram pens. I am keeping more of the ram lambs to grow up to be breeding rams. I need a location to keep them until they are sold. This year is the first year I have started keeping a few of the ram lambs to raise for breeding rams. In prior years, I did not think the ram lambs I raised were worthy to be breeding rams.
Previous years I put my rams in with the sheep I was raising for butcher. Since purchasing Max, I have to seperate the rams as Max does not like other rams. I also do not need to feed my breeding rams the same feed that I am feeding the sheep for butcher. Getting rams too heavy for breeding hinders the breeding of the ewes.
This year I have ewes that I am retaining for replacement ewes. I have them penned separate from the ewes in order for them not to be exposed to the rams until they are older. Hince I have fewer available pens to put the rams in. Since my sheep flock is growing and has different needs from when I started, I am having to increase the number of available pens.
I am thankful for the growth of my flock and the improvements in genetics I have made this year.
Separate pens and shelter are needed for the rams.