Surprise Lambing in July


| 7/23/2014 2:14:00 PM


Tags: lambs, sheep, Ontario, Canada, Rachel Conlin,

Newborn Lambs With Mother

Being a farmer and an entrepreneur is never dull. There is always a vast array of things to do and that need to be done. Throughout the day I literally ‘change my hat’ many times. This suits me fine. I may be tired at the end of the day, but always content and never bored. The summer months are particularly very busy; the vegetables are ripening and calling to be picked and preserved, maturing lambs are ready to go to market, and goat milking is at its prime, bags of wool require spinning. With all these jobs other chores tend to appear, like fencing, egg collecting….I could go on, but you get the idea. Add to this the fact that we live in a rural area that is quickly becoming a prime tourist destination. Running my farm market alone keeps me hopping.

Raising Pastured Lambs

Front Of Our Log Barn

Each season brings its expected tasks and some surprises too. Yesterday required me to do one of the chores I like the least, taking lambs to the abattoir. Our lambs are free range with no shortage of lush, natural vegetation to graze upon. They are healthy, large and quite spirited. Weighing around 100 lbs. each, being approximately 6 months of age and living an unrestricted life, they can be a force to be reckoned with. The evening before I transport the lambs, my husband, Tim, and I put them into stalls in the barn. At 5:30 am the next morning we load them into the back of our enclosed pickup truck. We load them early as Tim has an off farm job and loading these lambs is definitely a two person job. Believe me; I have done it alone. Wrestling one of these lambs when you don’t weigh much more than the lamb is quite a feat! I have also attempted, (emphasis on ‘attempted’), to load goats with the help of our daughter….that in itself is a story for another day!

On this particular July morning, with an overcast sky, Tim backed the truck up to the old log barn. Getting the first lamb in is difficult enough, but getting a couple more in without the first ones escaping is a challenge. We loaded three ram lambs and took a moment to look around in the dim morning light at the rest of the herd. They generally sleep close to the barn being guarded from predators by our guardian livestock dogs. Suddenly Tim called out, “there’s a baby!” My first response was to think he was joking around. Our lambs are born between November and February, with an occasional late being born in March or early April. This is July. Sure enough, amongst the herd, one of our Finn sheep-Gotland cross ewes had a very wet lamb on the ground beside her. Knowing that she may possibly have more, we lead her into the barn and put her in a stall with her lamb. There wasn’t much time to adore the new baby; Tim had to get to work. We drove down to the farmhouse and he headed out in his truck.

Our Century Old Log Barn




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