Thursday, April 9, 2009

Barn Check, 2009-4-9, 8:30 a.m.

This morning's tally: 5 rams, 2 ewes.

Footer was doting over fine big white twins, a ewe and a ram, when I went out, with the placenta neatly deposited nearby. Generally they are strung out in long strings, as the ewe moves around, but I'm guessing the lambs were both suckling and she just stood in one place and passed it.

Perfle's trio is still extremely vocal. We tube fed them twice yesterday, usingcolostrom from the ewes with singles. That also gave me a chance to assess the milking qualities of the two first-time lambers. Both produced lots of colostrum--I easily milked 12 oz out of each, leaving lots behind for their own lambs. I tube fed each of Perfle's lambs about 4 oz. around noon, and another4 oz. at night. Though the largest seems to generally have a full tummy, I tubed all three with each ewe's colostrum so that he wouldn't smell different from the others getting colostrum from different ewes. He's already bigger and firstborn, he doesn't need the advantage of smelling more like Mom as well.

Eudora stood like an old pro once I got her tied up (neck collar and lead rope, then pinned against the fence with my body as I milked with one hand and held the cup with the other). It's an amazing transformation from the brat she's been to handle up to now. Some ewes really go through a personality change at lambing, generally for the better. Annie did not; she fought the whole time. But she was handled less as a lamb than Ewedora was, and it seemed like she was fighting the restraint more than the messing about with her udder. I'll try again today, and see if she settles down. I learned when milking the flock a few years ago that it generally takes about three days for ewes to calm down and settle into the routine, so I won't make any snap judgements about personality here.

But both have very nice udder and teat confirmation, and were very easy to express milk from (getting it to stay in the cup was another matter, in Annie's case). If I never milk for human consumption again, this feature alone makes it worthwhile to have the dairy genetics--ewes with extra teats, very small teats, very thin streams, etc. can be hard to express colostrum from.

So all is well this morning. Looking forward to seeing what this day of the full moon day brings!

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