Our lambs are happily ensconced at Harper’s Feedlot near Greeley. They are eating corn and growing every day. Pat, Tiarnan and I went to visit them recently. The weather is warm–too warm for this time of year–so all the lambs on the feedlot are doing really well.
Tag Archives: Hampshire
New Year’s Eve morning dawned bright and clear. We had a huge pile of wood to burn from an old building we had taken down. We had livestock to tend, bucks to work, and resolutions to make.
Much of our lives revolves around reproduction…sometimes encouraging it, sometime avoiding it, but always managing it. Sheep reach sexual maturity at a relatively young age, so in July we must remove the buck lambs, born in March, from their mothers and the ewe herd. The conventional wisdom, at our latitude(about 41) is that ewes can be bred in any month with an “R” in it. It’s a bit more complicated than that, depending on factors such as the breed and nutrition, but we have learned not to overthink it. Suffice it to say that if you don’t want to be lambing at Christmastime or so, it’s a good idea to remove intact buck lambs from their mothers in July. We don’t want to wait until “AuRgust”!
Since we raise our own bucks, and they are getting to be pretty big guys, we put them into the corrals at the Johnson Ranch, where they summer north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The buck lambs who pass the test to be replacement rams are weaned and taken to the Home Ranch, far away, we hope, from any ewes.
We have started lambing the purebred ewes at Powder Flat. They are the moms of our future bucks and many replacement ewe lambs, and we lamb them earlier so these lambs will be older when it’s time for them to become working sheep. Our hard-working crew of Peruvian employees are supported by frequent visits from Meghan and her crew.
We have an amazing birth announcement. The Finn folk may brag about their multiple births, but, for the first time ever (for us, at least), we have a Rambouillet ewe with quints. They are doing well (with some supplemental milk) AND she gave us a 64’s spinning count fleece!
This Hampshire ewe doesn’t want to be outdone, but I suspect only two–maybe three–of those lambs are hers.
Each year, our friends Rodney and Janet Fleming come for a visit from Iowa. It is a true busman’s holiday. The Flemings raise sheep in Iowa, and they come to see us so that they may visit sheep camps, participate in general ranch work and visit about dogs and sheep. They also pick out a couple of ram lambs to take home to their ewes in Iowa. We raise both Hampshire and Rambouillet rams to breed to our own commercial ewes. This gives us the opportunity to select for the traits we want, and that the rams, who have never been pushed on grain, are hardy when it comes time to go to work under sometimes tough conditions in Red Desert winters.