Lambs born in January and February have already been weaned and their Mother’s already dried off and out in the field with the hoggets. Most of my flock lambed mid to late March, which makes the lambs around 12 weeks old. The lambs are eating grass most of the time and only seem to drink from their Mother’s in moments of insecurity or to slack a thirst when the water tank is too far away across the field.

Weaning day starts off with collecting in all the ewes and lambs from the fields bringing them into the yard for sorting. I like to do this on a cool day as it makes it less stressful for all involved.

A Beautiful Cool Day for Collecting in the Sheep

A Beautiful Cool Day for Collecting in the Sheep

Even the super ewe I have who has for the second year in a row raised 4 lambs comes in. I think she will be very relieved once the next 24/48 hours have passed, not to have 4 lambs charging under her and head butting her udder looking for milk.

Super Ma Bringing in Her 4 Lambs for Weaning

Super Ma Bringing in Her 4 Lambs for Weaning

As the last ewes and lambs trot out the gate towards the yard I make a final sweep of the field just to make sure all have come in.

The Last Ewes & Lambs Trotting out the Field Gate

The Last Ewes & Lambs Trotting out the Field Gate

There is always one who just dawdles along taking it’s time nibbling a blade of grass here and there in no hurry to move anywhere. This ram lamb stops to have a nose to nose chat with Pepper who sits atop the quad and is just as interested in the conversation.

Ram Lamb & Pepper Having a Nose to Nose Chat

Ram Lamb & Pepper Having a Nose to Nose Chat

The yard is so busy sorting lambs from ewes and I also have buyers in viewing lambs they want to put deposits on so take no photographs until after all ewes and lambs have been sorted. The sorted lambs all trot out into the paddock toward the orchard gate.

All the Lambs Waiting for Me to Open the Gate

All the Lambs Waiting for Me to Open the Gate

Once the gate has opened they gallop up the laneway not yet realizing they are on their own without their Mothers

Lambs Galloping Up the Laneway

Lambs Galloping Up the Laneway

Almost as soon as they get into the orchard their heads go down to eat the sweetest grass around which I have saved just for this day as their weaning reward.

Heads Down Grazing the Sweet Orchard Grass

Heads Down Grazing the Sweet Orchard Grass

They spread out all over the orchard separating into small groups of friends and siblings eating sweet grass, looking around and calling for their Mothers between mouthfuls.

What Have You Done To Our Mother?

What Have You Done To Our Mother?

Siblings Sticking Together

Siblings Sticking Together

They don’t even notice the big huge scary neighbors watching them through the gate.

Curious Neighbors Watching Grazing Lambs

Curious Neighbors Watching Grazing Lambs

Meanwhile the Mothers have been let out into an over grassed paddock to dry out calling all the while for their lambs.

Sugar Calling for Her Lambs

Sugar Calling for Her Lambs

Because the Zwartbles sheep is a dairy breed they carry loads of milk which drys off quicker for them if they are under nourished for a few days. I will be inspecting them regularly watching as their udders refill with milk and get very taut which will be uncomfortable for them as their lambs will not be there to milk them off. I will also be watching out for Mastitis which can occur during drying off. I have yet to have a case of Mastitis during the drying off period but it is better to be safe then sorry.

Super Ma Listening for Her Lambs Call

Super Ma Listening for Her Lambs Call

Every time I go in to inspect both lambs in the orchard and ewes in their paddock they come up to me asking ‘What have you done to my Ma” or ‘Where are my lambs?”

Fern Asking Me What I Have Done With Her Lamb?

Fern Asking Me What I Have Done With Her Lamb?

Lambs All Galloping Towards Me Looking for Their Mothers

Lambs All Galloping Towards Me Looking for Their Mothers

The Zwartbles sheep are a very curious and friendly breed of sheep which makes them very easy to manage so counting lambs is easy as they all run up to me and almost stand in a line for me to count them.

Zwartbles Lambs Standing to be Counted

Zwartbles Lambs Standing to be Counted

Soon they are all their looking at me and bleating for their lost Mothers

All the Lambs Line Up Demanding to Know Where There Mother's Are

All the Lambs Line Up Demanding to Know Where There Mother’s Are

Very soon the ewes couldn’t care less where their lambs are and start to enjoy the peace and quite even ignoring the lambs screaming at them from the other side of the gate.

A Zwartble Ewe Ignoring the Calling Lambs

A Zwartbles Ewe Ignoring the Calling Lambs

After a few days on the short grass paddock the ewes are looking very keenly at the grass on the other side of the gate. Their udders have lost the really taut look and feel more pliable. I only have to open the gate when they set off at a gallop into the fresh field.

Ewes Galloping Towards the Fresh Field

Ewes Galloping Towards the Fresh Field

As soon as they are in the field their heads go down and they happily graze away not worried about lambs but just stuffing themselves with grass.

Ewes Drying Off on Short Grass

Ewes Drying Off on Short Grass

2 Responses to Weaning Zwartbles Lambs

  1. Imen says:

    Beautifully crafted post….great subject to work with! See you soon! xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *