Shearing the early lambers
Warm work on a cool day
We raise our own Rambouillet and Hampshire bucks. We breed their mothers, the purebred ewes early--around the first of October. Since a sheep's gestation period is about five months less five days, that means we are lambing now. We lamb these ewes at the Powder Flat headquarters, where we have corrals, sheds, and a crew.
It's a lot easier on everyone (except maybe the newly naked sheep) if the ewes are sheared before they lamb. The lambs don't mistake a wool tag (hanging bit of wool) for a nipple, and the ewes are interested in seeking shelter in cold weather, much to the benefit of their newborn lambs. In a few days, they have grown back enough wool to see them through some fairly cold weather. If a storm comes in, we have sheds and shelter.
We were able to bring the bucks in from their newly completed duties on the Red Desert, and were able to get them sheared too. This makes it easier in April when we shear the main line. The bucks probably don't think it's such a great idea. On the other hand, they now get to go back to hanging around until December or so--not such a bad life!
Bringing the bucks up the chute
Eutemio working the chute
Rob, hard at work
Through the escape hatch
Wool handlers packing the wool
Raul at the ramp
Heavy ewes, newly shorn
Ewes and lambs, with a cozy barn
Pat and ewes look each other over
Richar and Nene
The tractor pulling the portable shed up the hill
It's still plenty wintery
Powder Flat, Moffat County, Colorado
photos by Sharon O'Toole