Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter has arrived!

Winter has finally caught up with southeastern Iowa. We received 4+ inches after experiencing a week or two of 40°+ weather. Compared to folks in other parts of the country we've been lucky.

Photo: The ewe flock from the home farm. They are a Border Leicester/Ile de France mix. They were bred to several wooled sires (Suffolk, Hampshire and Ile de France). The Ile de France  sires are used to provide replacement ewes. 

How are the flocks handling the weather? The wooled ewes on the home farm still have a heavy layer of fleece on them. They will be losing this a few weeks before their lambing dates in March. The lack of fleece keeps the ewes cooler during the lambing process. They're currently outside munching on baleage and have available shelter, though they tend to stay outside in the snow.

Photo: The barn in the background houses some of our spare woven wire and panels leftover from fence building and general farm products. The wooden feeder under the barn was used for feeding soy hulls to our ewe lambs during gestation this last year. I believe we plan to do so again this year. 

The hair ewes at the North and East Farms are indoors and out of the elements. They have a heavy layer of bedding beneath them and the barn is well ventilated to keep them dry. They were bred in mid-late December for lambing in May. Since they are hair sheep and lack a thick coat of wool, they do not need to be shorn before lambing.

Photo: Our lambing barn sits ready for the upcoming lambing season. During winter the goats and the rams spend their time out of the elements in this barn. This laneway is often used for gathering the flock before they are sent through the handling yard which is at the far end of the barn.