I sneak into the sheep pen every morning hoping to not disturb the flock. The time before everyone has gotten-up and started their day is when I can get the best overview of how everyone is doing. Ewes and lambs that are contentedly snoozing or chewing cud are a sign of all being well. Lambs that are fussy or mamas that are off by themselves or are just up and unhappy are a sign that something is off. There are times when everyone is fussy, like in the summer when it hasn’t cooled down appreciatively overnight. However, this morning was tranquil with both lambs and ewes mostly asleep.
Sometimes you come across some interesting cuddle buddies. Here’s Herbert with a new friend.
And of course Greyson.
As I walk through, there’s usually one sheep that sounds the alarm that someone is there and the rest of the flock then dozily comes to a basic level of alertness. Mamas start to get up and allow for the first feeding of the day.
Lambs are sleeping all over the place. A favorite is in the hay feeding area near the bale. They are being “dangerous” by being out of the pen but are within feet of their mamas still. Also, it’s a cushy place to sleep.
The oldest lambs are already starting to eat hay, a nibble here and there. Some of the adventurous ones have even been getting some grass outside the pen. Lambs’ rumens aren’t fully developed at this point, but it’s the experimental eating that helps to develop it. The ewes help to “encourage” this eating by, well, quite frankly, kicking them when they try to nurse too often as they get older. The older the lamb, the less the ewe will allow it to nurse and the stronger it will kick it when it tries. I’ve seen a ewe that was weaning a two month-old lamb kick it so hard that it bounced when it hit the ground (it didn’t hurt the lamb, they’re practically made from rubber at this point in their lives). However, at this point it’s more like shooing away an annoying insect, sort of a, “Okay, you’ve had enough don’t you think…?” kind of persuasion.
Right now, as I still await Charlotte’s big delivery, we’re in the sweet spot of lamb-hood. They are (mostly) big enough to play off on their own but still small enough that they are babies. I know how short this period of time is and I plan to appreciate it as much as possible.