Here it the end of April and we are looking forward to a week of rain. The spring time bring lambing season to Prickly Ash Hill Farm. It was a good season, but we have had better seasons and some seasons worse. With the endless cold of winter, I am glad we lambed late this year. We only bred 5 ewes last fall and held back 5 spring lambs. At one time we had dreams of lambing 20-25 ewes and this year that would have been all we could handle. The 10 head on the farm this year was more than enough. The extreme cold and endless snow falls made 10 head just about right.
Last summer when I was baling hay the knotter on the baler broke. The hay was in perfect condition and it would have been a shame to wait until the knotter was fixed. I drove over to the neighbor’s and asked him if he could make small round bales for me. He said he would be over that evening as soon as he was finished wrapping hay bales for another neighbor. He asked me what size I wanted, and I told him to make them 4X4. He responded with ” The last time I made you round bales, I made them 3X4.” After talking awhile, I told him to make them 3X4. The next day I drove pass the field and it was covered with 30 “Husky Boy Bales”. That was a great decision as the winter unfolded.
The 3X4 round bale is what I refer to as “Husky Boy Bales”. They take a good husky boy to push those bales around and no tractor is needed. I was able to roll them into my trailer and transport them to the pasture. I would unroll some of the bale and put the rest into a bale feeder. As the snow got deeper I wasn’t able to unroll the hay so I just put them in the feeder. When the snow got deep enough I wasn’t able to take the bales out to the pasture with my trailer. Then I went and got my Dad’s bale spear and put the spear on my tractor and took the bales out to the feeders. With the size of my tractor, a Ford 8N, a bale on the spear was enough counterbalance to pull the front wheels off the ground and leave me with no steering. I made it work this winter and kept the sheep fed all winter.
The first lambs were born the end of March. The endless cold of the winter was fading and it was a nice time to start lambing. In the past when our daughter was in 4-H, we would try to have our lambs near the 15th of February so they could be shown in two different classes. Before the 15th they would be classed as a winter lamb and after the 15th a spring lamb. Lambing at that time of the year you would have to be right there to start drying of the lamb and help them start nursing. We wanted the lamb to get its first nursing within 30 minutes of being born. After they had their bellies full of milk, they were good to go no matter how cold the winter got. In late March the sun is warm and some of the snow is melted. The time frames are still important but not as critical.
After the lambs are about 2-3 weeks old they start to get a good set of legs under them. They start drifting away from their mother only to find she is gone. They start to cry out and do a mad dash to find her. Also the lambs will start packing up and run around the pasture as a pack. As my one neighbor says “They look like little NASCAR’s racing around the track.” Our back patio door looks out over our barnyard and pasture. It is a peaceful time in the morning or evening just to sit and have something to sip on and watch the sheep. It is a moment in time to allow your mind and spirit to relax and take on peace from a busy world.