Updated: Jan 31
So, lambing season has just started for us here. We started on a not-so-great note. I mean, lambs were born, all are healthy and OK, so it's not a bad note. But we had two mamas give birth overnight - one with twins, the other with triplets. 1-2-3-4-5 LAMBS! AH AH AH AAAAAH!
Well, out of the 5, 3 of them have been abandoned. Elsa had a set of large twin ram lambs. She isn't taking one. He has promise, he keeps trying to sneak. If we hold mama still, he can drink, but otherwise, she butts him away.
The others are two of the triplets. Coral is super tiny, so I had a mind that we would supplement her no matter what. But mama has only accepted Sabrina, so Istredd is also on the bottle.
We give them a couple of days to get them accustomed to the bottle. Today, I pulled out the nipple bucket. We have 2 of these, and each has 4 nipples on it. So I hung this in the barn this morning so the babies can drink whenever THEY want to, and they don't have to wait for us!
Last night, when I went in to feed the babies, I found Persephone with a fresh little lamby. I quickly whisked them into the nursery stall, and Shannon got to watch Persephone give birth to lamb 2. And just a bit later, she had lamb #3.
So there is a point to this story, but before I get to it...
The weather lately has been SO NUTS. Sun and warm, and then snow, and then sun and mud, and then more snow. I usually lock up babies for a day or two in winter, to make sure the babies bond with their mamas. If the weather is nice, I watch them and make sure all is good. But every day I think I want to let them out - it snows again. And Persephone just had triplets, they need a day or two. I am sure the mamas are getting restless, but I am thrilled I can have a safe, warm, dry place for the babies to stay. I am glad they are all safe, I am glad they took to the bottles and to the bucket. I am glad they are playing in the stall together. I love babies!
But, Persephone's triplets mark a milestone I wasn't sure I would ever get to. I track all my sheep's performance against Shirley. Shirley was one of our first 2 sheep on the farm. An amazing mama that often had triplets (and could feed them all) and she gave us 18 lambs on this farm. Between number of lambs and the weight those lambs have produced - Shirley is beyond our most productive sheep we have ever had.
Because of this, I kept several of her daughters. Sharon and Persephone being two of those daughters. Persephone LOOKS a lot like Shirley. We lost Shirley at age 11.5. I actually score my flock against her actual production - and track my ewes by projecting if they can meet or beat her production levels. Sharon came the absolute closest. Her last lambing, she had quads. But she also prolapsed and got mastitis. Sharon was just under 10 years old when we culled her from the flock. She was just a hair below Shirley's production levels. We've had other ewes that looked to beat her record, but we lost them to other reasons.
But today, with Persephone having triplets - triplets that she is feeding well on her own - that puts her at 20 lambs born on this farm. Persephone is 7.41 years old! She has YEARS to go to set the new standard. But now, she has out-produced our best ewe on the farm!
I know this graph is too small to see, but Persephone is the third bar from the left - her blue (actual production) just bypassed Shirley. Shirley's actual production is represented by the yellow bar. Red is her projection to come. She's setting a very high standard for this flock.
What does this mean? I am actively working to create a more productive and healthy flock. I am choosing the best mamas, who grow big, happy, lambs. It allows me to have a smaller ewe flock, while maintaining productivity of the flock. Having fewer mamas, and the same number of lambs, is better for our pasture and regenerative practices. It cuts down feed costs, as well.
And yeah, I think it's time for Anna to go... One of these things is not like the other! One of these things does not belong!
Congrats on your triplets, Persephone, and for taking the throne from your very own mother, Shirley!