It has been beautifully warm the last few days. We have enjoyed full sunshine and temps in the 50s. The snow is melting like crazy, though it isn’t all gone yet. Hopefully the next few days of warm will melt it a bunch more. We are having some flooding issues in the back area because of snow dam situations, hopefully that will begin to clear up as well.
We used the warm weather as an opportunity to work on some projects in the barn area without the discomfort of bitter cold.
Husband built the lambing jugs (lambing stalls). He hasn’t done the gates yet, we want the ewes to go in and out of them freely this week and get used to them. Next week we will put the gates on and begin splitting them up in the stalls at night.
As you can see, he used pallets for the walls. We took the 11x11ft stall and split it to make 2 5.5×5.5ft lambing jugs and one larger section that is 5.5x11ft.
The three sheep are due in succession over three weeks. So we should do fine with just two jugs. Fiona is due first, estimated due date is the 7-12 of April, Stella is due second, estimated the 12-17, and Daphne is due last, estimated April 21 or later. So at first Fiona and Stella will be closed in the jugs, with Daphne in the larger area with Tundra, the farm dog. Then, once Fiona lambs and bonds with her lambs, she will move to the larger area with the farm dog and Daphne will move into the jug.
The jugs are removable, so after lambing season we will pull them out and store them for next year. It is very exciting to get them set up! It makes the coming baby lambs seem more real.
We rated all of the pullets we kept from last year for potential breeders. We figured out the top 5 scoring pullets and put them in the breeding pen with the rooster, this is breeding group 2 for this year. We have one pullet from last year that is thinking about brooding for us, so we gave her dummy eggs and we will see if she sticks it out. If so, she will be the first to receive eggs from breeding group 2.
Banana and her chicks are doing well and moved into the grow pen. Banana refuses to share space with any other hens while raising her chicks, so she can’t go into the Mama Hen Pen with Eve. Eve’s chicks are 6 weeks now and she is starting to separate herself from them. Last time she started showing this behavior it wasn’t long before she was laying again and ready to brood again too. So we are expecting that from her in the next few weeks.
We bought the first set of lights for the grow-light shelving unit we are building. The lights are pretty expensive so we decided to start with one shelf at first and make sure we are happy with it before we move on. Plus we have the grow-light box we used last year. Our first seeds go into soil next week! I am scrambling a bit to finish up the last-minute plans for the garden this year. We will share more about what we are planting soon.
Seasons are shifting on the homestead!