Juggling Farm and a Job

In January I started working a job outside of my sheep farm. My husband lost his job in November and was looking for work. When I started working a job, he was able to do the chores when I was scheduled to work.

I like feeding the sheep between 10 and 11 am. The reason is they will lamb later in the morning, like 5 am or 6 am instead of 1 or 2 am. With the later morning lambing, I am able to check ewes without going in the middle of the night and in the cold.

I used to not mind going out in the middle of the night to check pregnant livestock, but that was when I lived in Colorado. In Texas there are more snakes, a lot more and bigger snakes. I really do not like snakes. It is easier to see snakes when the sun is up than at night. Hence, I no longer like going out in the dark to check pregnant livestock.

This week, my husband was hired for a job. Yeah, for our finances. But I now have to do the chores regardless of when I am scheduled to work. That translates to me getting up at 4:30 am to do chores. I am feeding the sheep in the dark. Feeding the sheep earlier, has resulted in lambs being born earlier. Today, I had a lamb already on the ground and dry at 5 am. I am going to have to start the midnight checks again.

Some say there is no scientific proof that feeding schedules affect when the lambs are born. Some sheep farmers have altered their feeding schedules to affect the lambing times. Some sheep farmers have tried to have lambs during the daylight hours by adjusting the feeding schedule only for it not to work. The method works for me, although I am no longer able to do a mid morning feeding due to an outside job.

Most of my ewes have given birth, and they are good mothers. Such as the ewe who gave birth this morning. She had her lamb next to her, was feeding it and had it licked dry. First time ewes usually need someone watching out for them, I like to make sure they learn how to pair up with their new lamb or lambs, especially with twins. Twins are a challenge to any ewe, but especially to a first time ewe, who is not aware she has two lambs instead of just the one she is licking.

As the month goes forward, I will find my rhythm to caring for my sheep and working a job. I am glad that I am home each day before the sun goes down.


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