Out to pasture
Once the grass starts to grow in the spring, the lambs go outside
where their mothers teach them how to graze. Wherever their mother
goes, they will go.
Life of a lamb
During the day, the lambs spend their time eating, sleeping, and
playing. Siblings tend to stick together. At the beginning, lambs
don't venture too far from their dams. As they get older, they
form play groups. They become more independent and active. They
love to run and jump. Their favorite "game" is "king
of the hill."
When the lambs are 6 to 8 weeks old, they are vaccinated for
clostridium perfringins type C & D (overeating disease)
and clostridium tetani (tetanus). They receive a booster
approximately four weeks later.
The lambs are weaned (separated from their mothers) by the time they are 90 days old. They are weighed to see how
fast they are growing. After weaning, the lambs stay in familiar
surroundings, while the ewes are moved to a pen for special feeding
to help dry up their udders. Between 3 and 4 months of age, the
ram lambs are separated from the ewe lambs.
After weaning the lambs continue to graze. They are fed supplemental
grain while they are grazing. The ewe lambs and some of the best
ram lambs are sold for breeding, while the rest of the males are
sold for meat. Most of the lambs are sold by August 1st.
Lambs are not routinely dewormed at the Baalands, as this is neither
necessory nor recommended, as frequent and unnecessary deworming
promotes the development of drug-resistant worms. Only lambs
showing signs of barber pole worm infection (anemia) are given
an anthelmintic. Katahdin sheep are more resistant to internal
parasites than wooled breeds. The minerals include a coccidiostat
to prevent coccidiosis.
The Baalands retains a few of the best ewe lambs to add to the
flock. The replacement ewe lambs are bred when they are about
seven months old and have achieved approximately two-thirds of
their mature size. At the time of breeding, they'll weight about 100 pounds. The ewe lambs will not be raised with the mature
ewes until they wean their first set of lambs.
After the ewes wean their lambs, they spend the next several months
"recuperating" and getting fat eating grass. The only
supplement they receive while grazing is a mineral mix. Ewes that
did not raise lambs or have physical problems are removed from
the flock. Breeding commences again in mid-October, when the "sheep
year" starts all over again.
George doesn't do much. Mostly he eats and gets fat. During his younger years, his most
important job was to keep the rams company when they were not with
the ewes for breeding. George works on the sheep101 web site in
his spare time.