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Spring Comes Too Early

Spring Comes Too Early

Garth Brown |

By Garth Brown

On a happy farm animals rarely go through fences. Ideally, fences keep animals where they should best be at a particular time for their own health and the health of the farm. So long as livestock have food, water, and somewhere to lie down they are usually quite content. The exceptions to this contented state are affairs of the heart. An animal in the throes of passion will ignore a fence that would otherwise keep it well contained. This explains why lambs arrived this morning, two months ahead of schedule.

We plan on the sheep flock lambing at the end of April into May. This is the ideal time, since it usually comes with lots of new green grass and sunshine. The way to make this happen is to separate the rams from the ewes in the early summer, then put them back in just before Thanksgiving, since sheep have a gestation period of about 150 days.

But last September one of the rams went through the fence. He was only in with the rest of the sheep overnight, but that was clearly more than enough. This morning Ed found three healthy lambs, a pair of twins and a single, lying in the hay by the feeder. Luckily, unlike much of the country it is unseasonably warm here, with warmer weather still in the forecast.

And there are good things about early lambs. They have a great start on the year, so by the time the grass comes in they are really ready to graze, and this head start means they’re sure to be big by the fall. But having the whole flock lamb so early would require a dedicated lambing barn, which would bring a whole new set of headaches with it.

For now I’m glad these lambs, though too early, are off to a great start. Between them and the warm air and the melting snow it almost feels fair to start thinking about spring.

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