March Comes In Like a LION…

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, June 2010 – January 2012]

…and out like a lamb. In our case, it’s for real! Come and check out the new babies at the corrals; you’ll just fall in love.

March is a wonderful month here at the farm. Sometimes we lamb in February (too cold!) and sometimes in April (too many flies!), but March is always the best for the little ones. So, this year, we had around 30 ewes that were going to lamb, and as of today, there are only 3 we are waiting for. Since sometimes it seems that sheep don’t lamb until it’s really cold and the middle of the night, we may need to wait a bit longer!

So, you might be wondering what that red spot is on the grey sheep in the above photo. Well, it’s a sheep “brand.” During lambing we brand the sheep with “sheep paint” with both our brand “JD” (we just use JD because the Hansens had an extra brand, not because it means anything. Funny, I know…) and a number. That way, when there is a big group of babies and mamas, we can match them up if they can’t find each other.

Here are a few of the mamas-to-be. They all looked so uncomfortable at first! Now, most of them have the joy and relief of having had their babes, but those few who are holding out are sure BIG!

Now, these next two babes are two whose mother didn’t have enough milk to support both of them. I was doing a supplemental bottle or two for them both, just so they would be sure to have warm, full tummies before bedtime and in the morning. Still, despite our best efforts, we lost the little white one a few days ago. The little black-faced babe is doing well, however, and I’ve learned over the years that you just have to do your best, celebrate the successes and let the difficult things go. There is a complete cycle of life here on the farm, and I know it in an intimate way – a way that I wouldn’t have known if I didnt’ live here. Both joyous and heart-wrenching, life plays itself out and we do our best to be good stewards to the animals that we have.

And, last, but definitely not least, I would like to introduce you to the “Dads” of the bunch. This old guy is my favorite. His name is Claudio, in honor of a neighbor. those horns are so impressive! He’s a very large, dominant male. You have to admit, he IS quite handsome in sort of a wooly kind of way, but don’t ever turn your back on him!

Our other buck is a black-faced Suffolk ram. Now, he doesn’t have the cool horns that Claudio has, nor does he have a name at the moment, but all of the lambies whose mothers aren’t black, and that have black on them are his. Good job, ram!!!

And the news of the week just wouldn’t be complete without telling you all that the weather here has been absolutely crazy! It’s been up to 65 degrees during the day, and down to 28 some nights. In like a lion is right, and it’s turning out to be out like a lamb after all…

It’s time to get outside! Get a breath or two of fresh air and look for the new life sprouting up all over. Robins making nests, red-winged blackbirds back in their home by the canal… It’s spring!

The lambs and birds mean spring to me – what signs of the lovely season do YOU look for?

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  1. Heather says:

    This is our second season of lambies, as the kids call them. We have one ram and two ewes. Now both mommas have two sweet babies (4 all together). It is so much fun watching them jump and play! Our first season only saw one survivor, but this spring is going to be wild out there with all the running around! I love to watch the babies chase the chickens. Enjoy!!

  2. Jackie Davis says:

    I too have had lambs this spring, if you can call Feb. spring in southern IL. All were born on freezing cold mornings with lots of snow on the ground. Mine are hair sheep and great mothers. This year I had a 200% lamb crop and some crazy colors. Oh how I love to watch them play in the pastures. The last set of wild colored lambs will get to stay here as replacement lambs. The rest will provide food for my friends and I. Thanks for sharing your babies with us.

  3. Carlisa says:

    Here in Texas spring to me is Bluebonnets and Thunderstorms. We have not had much rain this year so far, but April is usually wild. Spring is warm sunny days and cool nights perfect weather for getting out and camping.

  4. Darice says:

    The hallmark sign of the entry of spring is when my cherry blossom trees begin to bud. When they have fully bloomed, I know that I am definitely into spring. Their beauty reminds me of the regeneration that comes with spring.

  5. meredith says:

    March is going out like a lion here in Va.- we had 80 degrees early last week and it has been 40 and rainy here for the last three days! Welcome April- lets see if you can do a little better than March!
    We brought home our first two lambs for my daughter to raise and show last weekend. Our farm used to have sheep up until the late 70’s and has been straight cattle ever since. So these two girls (Dixie and Belle) are reviving a tradition. Our Ram will arrive in May when he is old enough to be weaned. I have never had sheep myself so this is quite a lot of fun! They are awesome.

  6. Congratulations! This brings back memories. When my daughter was a student at Hampshire College in MA we helped "birth" some lambs one year. It was a great experience. Some of the little ones looked like real life-sized Steiff stuffed animals! I’ve never had sheep myself, nor did my parents on their farm, so it was fun to read about yours. Here’s hoping all the rest of your babies make it through and thrive!

  7. Sharon Roberts says:

    This is my first time to write in. We used to raise sheep on our small farm here in Northern CA. Now we just have chickens, but I remember one birthing many years ago where a mama was down and not delivering. I had to put my arm in and I pulled out 3 stillborn lambs. A very sad day.

  8. Nicole Christensen says:

    Love the pictures! Their little faces are so sweet! The babies are just precious! What a great way to welcome Spring. Farmgirl hugs! -Nicole, Suburban Farmgirl Blogger

  9. Jan says:

    Hi………….This is my very first post on MaryJanesFarm!!! I am very happy that I have finally joined in on all of the "MaryJane" happenings.

    I am the daughter of sharecroppers here in Texas…….so I guess you can see I am "sort of" older!!! We had sheep when I was a little girl and I still remember watching Daddy and some of the neighbors shearing the sheep.

    I was always afraid they would get accidently cut but I don’t recall that happening. The wool was fun to hold in a bundle across your chest to feel its "fluffiness"…….not sure if that is a real word.

    Anyway………..I (and my husband) live on a small farm and bluebonnet time here in my part of the world was very small this year. We are in a horrific drought. Our pond which is normally full (1-1/2 acres) is down to a small dot in the middle.

    Animals are having a tough time. I have ducks and chickens and have a small orchard and garden going. The rabbits, however, have eaten the tops of most of my plants so it will be the "survival of the fittest".

    Anyway………..glad to be here…………and Libbie…your sheep are adorable!!!

    Regards……….Jan……."Farm Girl"

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