Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lambing season!

It's officially lambing season at Premier. Mike and Carl have been busy jug lambing our home flock and processing the lambs. Processing for us involves docking, castrating and applying ear tags. We use "O" rings and a ring expander for docking and castrating purposes.

For ear tags we use multiple colors to denote the sire. During breeding season, we used marking crayons on the various rams and documented which ram marked which ewe. This allows us to track whether or not a specific ram produced superior offspring. We used red, purple, pink and white ear tags for the various sires.

While in the barn, Mike documented which ewes had lambed and cross checked that information with which ram tupped (bred) her. The corresponding tags were then inserted into the lambs' ears.

Photo: Carl castrating a ram lamb with a ring expander and "O" ring. Carl is pressing on the animal's belly to encourage the testicles into the scrotum. 

Photo: Tail docking using a ring expander and "O" ring. Two "O" rings may be necessary for docking if a lamb's tail is too thick. If it's fly season, a dose of Catron IV or Pine Tar is recommended to ward off flies. 

Photo: Carl using Super Sprayline to match a lamb to its mother. The mother and lambs will be marked with the same numbers and color of Sprayline. We use three colors to identify singles, twins and triplets.  

You may have noticed we have a few more brockle/speckle faced lambs in comparison to last year. Last fall we used terminal sires (Hampshires, Suffolks and Siremax) to produce meat lambs with our Border Leicester/Ile de France ewes. 

Process wth newborn lambs:
Talk to your local vet to determine your own vaccination and lambing protocols. Also talk to shepherds in your area who have insight as to which diseases are common in your locale.