We've done the usual pre-lambing activities:
- Clean out the barn and bed with fresh bedding. All those uneaten haystems we scooped out of feeders for weeks during the winter are pressed back into service as bedding.
- Start adding Deccox to the mineral mix to reduce the quantity of coccidia the ewes are putting into the environment. The lambs will also be eating that directly as soon as they start tasting the minerals.
- Order baby lamb ear tags. This year we're going with little brass ones that clip into the ear and leave no open edges. This also necessitated a new tag applicator. These things are never interchangeable. The plastic roto-tags we've been using are getting pulled out too often when the open end gets caught on fence or feeder wire. Besides having to use process of elimination to figure out what that lamb's number used to be I hate seeing mutilated ears. The downside is that these tags are really little and you have to be holding the lamb to read them. We'll see how that goes.
- Order more rubber teats for the bucket feeder. Bottle lambs are inevitable.
- Order milk replacer. That's arrived at the Mennonite business that can get it for us but we have yet to go pick it up.
- Clean out all the lambing jugs. These little pens where mom and babies bond for a few days tend to be a catchall for things that have no regular place. A big junk drawer in a way. Shovels, pitchforks, pickaxe, wheelbarrow, sheep chair, a couple of odd boards, empty feed bags, feed bags full of used baler twine...... all get moved to another location and the pens cleaned of bits of hay, cobwebs, the stray burdock or curly dock that got pulled out of a hay bale and tossed in there....
- Locate the extension cords for the flourescent lights over the pens and check to make sure all are working.
- Check the supply of BoSe, needles and syringes, iodine, tail docking bands and print new pages for recording ewe/lamb info.
- Put the baby bumpers on the big water tubs. In the event that somebody sneaks a lamb out while I'm not looking I won't have to face the tragedy of a baby staggering around and falling into a water tub with hideous results.
The girls are doing their part - eating and resting and eating some more.
Talk about your "baby bump."
And Clem is helping them hone those mommy nuzzling skills.
We should have a betting pool on who will go first. Way more fun than basketball brackets.