Lambing is a busy time at the farm with checking on the pregnant ewes to make sure they are progressing well, countless trips to the barn to check for newborns and making sure they get the care they need. Let’s see what is involved.
Lambing is an important time of year at the farm. Generally lambs are born in the late winter or early spring so they can grow up on lush green pastures during the summer and be ready for market in last summer or fall. We breed Katahdin sheep, a meat breed that was actually developed right here in Maine during the 1950’s by Michael Piel’s. Since then the breed has grown in popularity due to their medium frame, good mothering ability and hair coat to become one of the most popular breeds in the United States. We have been breeding Katahdin sheep since 2001.
Lambs are born at any time of the day or night, making it an adventure for us. After years of careful selection, our ewe’s generally lamb on their own without assistance from us. The ewe quickly begins cleaning off the lamb and in most cases the lambs are up and trying to nurse within the hour! Most often our ewe’s have twins, but triplets are not that uncommon. Generally we like to leave the mom and babies alone to bond before we move or handle them.
Eventually we move them to a jug, which is small pen for the ewe and lambs, so we can carefully watch them and make sure they are doing well. If it is really cold, we will put a blanket on the lamb to keep it warm on our cold Maine winter nights. We give our lambs a shot of Bo-Se (selenium) at birth, weigh them and cut and dip their umbilical cord. After 24 to 48 hours we will put the lambs in a mixing pen so they can get acquainted with lambs of similar ages. We weigh them again at 30, 60 and 90 days to make sure they are growing well and they are generally weaned at around 90 days.
Lambing season is one of the most exciting times on the farm!