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54746 Upper Dry Creek Road Weston, OR  97886   (541)938-6262

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Lambing Time: Spring’s Rite of Passage

Each spring is a rite of passage when the lambs start to arrive. We plan for plenty of activity and little sleep for the 3 ½ weeks beginning around April 10. What is it like to be a shepherd during lambing?  Let me walk you through a “typical” day.

6 am: Early morning ewe check. We walk the field looking for newborn lambs and record those on paper as well as spray chalk the newborns with their mother’s ear tag number.  Between 5 am and 10 am is the busy time for lambing.

8 - 11 am: We return to the field to check for new lambs and insure the previous ones are up and nursing and there are no mothering problems. Feed bummer lambs breakfast bottles. This may involving mixing and feeding up to 14 bottles per feeding.  Take care of any special needs cases such as lambs that need help nursing or ewes that need extra health care.

Noon:  Feed bummer lambs lunch bottle.  Grab a snack for ourselves and back out the door to the field after checking for phone messages and e-mail.  

1 - 3 pm:  Tag, dock, vaccinate and castrate yesterday’s lambs.  This may be anywhere from 18 - 50 head depending on the time in the lambing cycle.  It is here where we get our exercise since a 48 hour old lamb can dang near out run a house cat.  We try to catch them at 24 hours old to avoid too much post-lambing sprinting. Watch for lambing ewes. Chalk any newborns when dry enough

4 - 6 pm:  Feed bummers afternoon bottle at 4:00. Check phone and e-mail.  Begin feeding ewes hay and possibly guide a truck load of onion waste (energy feed for ewes) into the field.  Check for lambing ewes.

6 - 7 pm:  Dinner for children.  Maybe dinner for us.

7:30 pm:  Last ewe check before dark.  Feed bummer lambs dinner bottle.

8:30-10:30 pm: Be parents, if possible.  Help with homework or deal with crisis in the field, whichever comes first.

10:30 - 11:30 pm:  To the barn for one last feeding for bummers. Check ewes one more time.  Stay up if any are lambing  and hope that there are no problems. Assist those that need help..... in the dark.

12:00 am - name your small hour of the morning:  Shower and pray that God takes care of those sheep for the next few hours while we aren’t there to do it.