Monday, July 14, 2008


I'm having a bit of a dilemma with myself. In the past I've weaned the lambs when they were about two months old, especially Baby's baby. Last year she seemed to give everything she had to her lamb and this year is the same. Only a month and a half after lambing Baby is really thin, with her back bone and hip bones having become very prominent.
Jamie seems to be following suit, although I don't remember her getting that bad last year. And Jamie's babies are the youngest, being only one month old now. The other ewes don't seem so bad, maybe because they are younger and this is their first year lambing?
My dilemma isn't really that the ewes are losing condition. That can easily be fixed by giving them the special "fattening" grain available. I can go ahead and wean the lambs and start feeding the formula to the ewes while I milk them. Then I would know they each got what they needed and not more or less than if I just threw it in the feeder and the bossiest ewe gets the fattest.

My dilemma at this point is how to milk all the ewes when I'm watching my granddaughter. It takes some time to milk even just one and I don't feel comfortable leaving her alone that long. I felt really guilty just leaving her sleeping in her playpen while I went and hurriedly fed this morning.

While writing all this down I had one idea that may work for a while. My son, who's last day of summer school was last Friday, could watch her while I attempt the milking. I'd probably have to roust him out of his cave since he usually doesn't wake up before noon on days off. It'll be good for him. He is currently looking for a job to fill the rest of the summer. So if he gets hired any time soon I may be out of luck.

I guess I could just bite the bullet and dive in head first. Like the Nike commercials say, "Just DO it!"

Maybe next week...


Robbyn said...

Have you ever tried the hand-held EZMilker? I've heard goat folks say they've had good results with that as far as speeding up the milking time and ease on hands, and it has a smaller fitting for miniatures and sheep. It looks sort of like a baby bottle with attachment and handle and we'll be keeping it in mind if we end up with small livestock...just a thought :)

tina f. said...

Thanks, Robbyn, I actually do have one of those. It still takes a surprising bit of time, although it is definately quicker than trying to milk purely by hand (did that too with very poor results). Maybe it's one of those things that gets quicker with experience? Last year it took 20 minutes to do one sheep, maybe this year it will take 20 min to do 2? or 5?

Jenn said...

If she's sleeping just tell him to listen for her and get up if he hears her. If it needs to be done and she's awake tell him to get up and he can have his pick watch the baby or do the milking, if he whines..too bad! Remind him of all you have done for him! Boy I'm nice haha.

Shannon said...

My sister-in-law has a boarding stable with about 20 horses to care for and riding lessons to teach, so when she had her first baby last year she just put a playpen in the barn and carried on business as usual. Worked for her!
(Come to think of it, the girl at the barn where we used to board did the same thing)

I agree with Jenn that son should help out just because he's a part of the family, too. But in the event of his gainful employment, the playpen idea could work.

Anonymous said...

Hmf. Is it a teenage thing when they think that 15 minutes of lawn mowing is too much to ask of them? I can hardly wait till the real world introduces itself to my kid. A bit craby today?? Yup!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a wireless baby monitor? Or even a wireless phone that has speakerphone capabilities. Our phone is 5.8ghz and reaches very far from our house. I can set it to "monitor room" and listen to the room while I'm out of the house.
Just a thought...