Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Weaning Lambs - How Hard Can It Be?

As I mentioned earlier, we were planning on weaning the lambs last weekend. Planning. Animals have little respect for plans.
As last spring was our first lambing season, this summer is our first lamb weaning season. We have weaned the one set of lambs three times. Seasoned stock owners and homesteaders, you may well be laughing or asking yourself how silly do you have to be to have to wean something more than once? Well, let me break it down for you.

On Saturday we weaned the lambs. Everything went well, dividing the flocks into two groups. The weaners went in with young ram Taro, and the ewes went in with Chili Chops to hopefully get pregnant for a late Autumn lambing. Taro decided to be rather rough on the weaners, so ten minutes later we had to pull everything back apart. Before the ewes barely had time to realize their babies were gone, their babies were back, and the two rams were back in the bachelor paddock. Needless to say that Chili Chops had a rather disappointed look about him.
It was by that time mid morning and far too hot to yard them up, and sort them all out again. The sheep were getting stubborn, Rilla was getting tired, Bambi was loosing her mind after being brought up but not being allowed to work, and we were rather worn out and wanting breakfast. (We're always putting the animal's stomachs before our own).

So, Sunday rolled in and we had formed a new weaning plan, one that would work this time. We'd end up with three flocks, but the job would be achieved so we were all happy. That is until the cows decided to take up the entire morning. I won't go into details, as it's simply too long, but it involved one cycling dairy heifer whom we don't want to be in calf yet, one love struck junior bull that managed to break through a fence, one pregnant Missy-Moo with a big udder even though she's not due until April, and one exhausting fight with the love struck junior bull on a halter. Seems he forgot that he was halter broken in the pursuit of his new found love. My arms have only just recovered today.
So, it was again mid morning, and aside from that we were all too tired to even think of handling lambs and working sheep. The job was put off until Monday, and aside from the usual minor hiccups one generally encounters when working with stock, everything went well and we ended up with all the lambs weaned, except for Mabel's twins who are still too young. Mabel has gone into the weaning paddock with her babies as the calming influence. She's a very patient animal.

The final hiccup was yesterday, when two of the biggest lambs managed a miracle of wiggling under the gate. They were easily put back, however, and some large bricks were put in front of their escaping spot.

So today, every animal stayed where it should, behaved themselves and was healthy.
Weaning is well underway, with most of the lambs being content without their mums already, aside from the two who escaped yesterday.

By now you must be wondering if we have any clue when it comes to animals.
I've wondered the same thing :-)

So, what did your weekend involve?
Sarah x

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  1. This sounds like the kind of story that will be told many times and maybe even laughed about in the future...farming folklore! I hope they all behave

    1. Thank-you Kate! Yes it's given us a few giggles already :-) And so far everyone is still behaving...

  2. Hilarious! I agree with Kate....farming folklore for sure. I would imagine you have to have a pretty good sense of humor to farm animals. And, my goodness, you take the best pictures!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Laurie, and thank-you for your kind comment! Animals wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable if you couldn't embrace them with a sense of humour :-)

  3. How funny Sarah...beautifully captured as usual. Sheep rarely do exactly what we want them to do! x

    1. Thank-you Jane and I'm glad you enjoyed it x

  4. Hello

    I too prefer 100% spelt bread but use a very small amount of liquid ( or make a firm one...both of 100% Spelt flour. I wish to experiment with your approach and have three questions. #1 What is the hydration % of your starter...and #2 do you bake on a stone or in a iron/stoneware or terra cotta? and #3 for how long?

    Thanks for your attention


    1. Hi Diane,
      Thanks for your comment! Spelt sourdough is delicious, isn't it?
      To answer your questions:
      #1 my Starter is 100% hydration
      #2 I use a banneton to prove my dough in and then bake on a baking tray, sometimes I bake in a ceramic pot, other times I prove and bake in a tin
      # 3 It depends on the recipe, and the moisture content of the bread. If you visit the recipe index (in the top tab) you'll find a couple of different sourdough recipes with different baking times.

      I hope this helps!
      Sarah x


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