Josey Ranch Pet Hospital, PC

March 22, 2009

Another New Lamb

Filed under: The Sheep — Kirk @ 1:57 pm
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Fuzzy's new ewe lambI was happy to find that Fuzzy had her lamb on her own this morning.  I got up at 5 am to check on her and she was fine with no signs of delivery soon.  We slept in and were awakened by my mother in law calling saying there was a new baby in the paddock!

She had had the lamb probably an hour earlier but the lamb was cold, not very cleaned up and not standing yet.  I brought her up, cleaned her up with warm water cloths and used a blow dryer on her for a while.  She gained her strength quickly and I was able to get her to nurse well.  Now, she is out there walking around with her dam and finding the milk supply on her own.

202-lambs-march-22-2008-0271So I just have one more to go and the lambing is done for this year.  I really enjoy the deliveries, the surprise of what they will have but just wish I did not have to help them so much in the process.

Now I get to watch them grow and determine who will become show lambs and which ones I will retain for future breedings.  I’ll keep you posted on the last one.

Lambs are Here !!

Filed under: The Sheep — Kirk @ 1:49 pm
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Vera and twinsWell, it has been a busy, long, sometime sleepless, worrisome last 3 weeks for me. So far, 9 of the 11 ewes have lambed. I spent many an hour checking and then assisting with deliveries this year. Of the 9 deliveries, I have had to assist on 5 of them.

I was fortunate to be here for all the difficult deliveries. Ewes can have 1-3 lambs, but twins seem to be most common. We have 5 sets of twins and 2 singles. When lambs are delivered, they are presented with their forelimbs sticking out in front of them with their head stretched forward and their chin resting on the legs.

Well, I had 5 situations, all different, where this was not what I was presented with. One was trying to deliver 2 at once so they were stuck and not progressing, another had a large breach presentation, another was a very large lamb present upside down and the last were twins each presented differently.

I was able to save all but the worst; the breach and the upside down giant lamb. I was lucky to have saved the ewes and have to accept loss as being natural.

The lambs are doing very well and it is amazing how rapidly they grow. The oldest are 3 weeks old and comparing them to their birth size is almost unbelievable.

They are very fun to watch and very active, social babies. They love to play follow the leader, use their dams as trampolines, head butt and sleep. I enjoy the newborns, assisting in the deliveries ( but would prefer they do it themselves) and then watching them just grow and observing their behavior.

I have always been intrigued by animals’ social behavior. The twins are much more active, social, interactive and demanding of their ewes than the single lambs are. Singes are quieter, more loner types, often off sleeping while the rest play and less bothersome to their dams.

These mothers seem to understand the lambs are content and they will often leave them asleep by themselves somewhere. The mothers to the twins are more nervous, alert and (probably like people with small twins) more fretful and concerned about their lambs.

Dixie's twinsMaternal instincts are fascinating as well. Each one has distinct personalities and mothering styles. I find it very entertaining and enlightening while others may just feel I spend too much time with the sheep!!

Anyway, I will try to attach a photo album to this entry that will contain numerous new photos. I will keep you posted on the last 2 to lamb. Thanks for reading.

March 8, 2009

How It All Began

Filed under: The Sheep — Kirk @ 12:49 am
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My "Starter Flock"
My “Starter Flock”

Hello everyone!  I am sorry it has taken my so long to add to this blog.  My intentions were good but my follow through was poor.  I was raised near Beaumont, Texas and was in 4-H as a child.  I started raising and exhibiting various breed of chickens and this led to raising registered Nubian goats and showing market show steer and hogs.  I always loved large animals and originally wanted to be a mixed animal practitioner.  Once we started doing surgery in veterinary school, I realized my options were greater with dogs and cats.  I had always hoped to one day have livestock again and we found this property in Bartonville and now was the time to do so!!  With only 4 acres, I could maybe have 2 cows or could have more sheep or goats.  With the sheep, I can have lots of lambs and support the 4-H and FFA programs that I learned so much from as a child.  I decided that I would have sheep.  Well, I have had to learn a great deal about them and do all the medicine / surgery on them myself.  There is a saying in vet school about the 4 S’s.  Sick sheep seldom survive !!  Well this saying is true!  I have encountered numerous problems in the last 5 years and read alot, read list serves on the internet and speak with TAMU clinicians regarding their various problems.  I have learned a great deal and feel that I am back to what I loved so much when I was young.  4-H and the livestock taught me so much and gave me so much joy.  Now is my time to return this knowledge and enlightenment to other students as well.

I started with purchasing 4 sheep from a local breeder.  These were my “starter” flock.  Poor quality and inexpensive but good to start and learn from.  I have since been able to purchase some very nice quality sheep from one of the top breeders in the states and have become friends with one of my pharmaceutical representatives who also raises and sells show lambs.  We have purchased better and better quality sheep and have had some success with our show lambs.  The lamb crop that we are now delivering looks to be our best yet!  I started with a ram and 3 ewes but now have 13 ewes and lots of lambs on the ground already with more to come.  I will probably only be able to keep 10-13 ewes total because I have limited space here.  He currently has about 30 ewes so we will have lots of lambs to sell later in the spring. 

I wanted to share this experience with anyone interested and hope to post photos from start to finish to share what we do with the sheep.  I promise I will write again very soon!!