Sheep!

This weekend was another huge happening at The Wallow. We got sheep!

Let me introduce Big Mama:

Mary and Baby Jeebus:

Buck:

And Jake:

Jake is Big Mama’s baby. Baby Jeebus is Mary’s lamb. Jake is still nursing, but I haven’t seen Baby Jeebus nurse. While Big Mama is probably 2-3 years old, this is probably Mary’s first year. She’s much smaller. I might try to milk Big Mama, but Joshua and I have decided to wait and get Mary’s milk next time around.

Between the 5 sheep, the breeds in the mix are Katahdin, Dorper, and Barbados. All of these are hair sheep, so we won’t have to shear them every year. All of these breeds should do well on our small pasture.

Buck is unrelated to the ewes or their lambs. Many sheep breeders keep their rams separate from the ewes so that breeding can happen on a regular schedule. We’ve decided to keep Buck with the ewes. This means babies will happen on the sheep’s schedule. It also means we always have to be on our toes around the flock, because it’s not wise to turn your back on a ram. I got photographic evidence of Buck’s desirability as a breeding ram:

The sheep spent the last two days in the barn stall, nomming on hay and getting occasional corn treats from me.

Today, though, they got to start going out on the pasture for a few minutes at a time. Switching them over to pasture from hay is a slow process. Their rumens need time to build up a new kind of bacteria, otherwise they get bloat, which is basically your sheep blowing up from the inside. As a first time sheep owner, I’m very nervous about bloat, although I’m sure it’ll be fine. The sheep looooooove being out on the pasture, and so far, Joshua and I haven’t had any trouble herding them back to the barn. Between the two of us, we’re almost as smart as a herding dog!

That’s all the baby animals for The Wallow this year. We got the baby pigs, we got the baby chicks, and now we’ve got baby sheep, too. Well, that’s all the baby animals until the baby human arrives in May! It’s a good year at The Wallow!

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