Let it…rain?

The sky has been gray all week and shows no sign of becoming blue for a few days yet.  In the past, I resented this continuation of dreary March dullness, but this year I feel differently.

The rolling pasture waits for rain.
The rolling pasture waits for rain.

The moisture in the air, the light drizzle and the heavy fog all contribute to the green grass that I hope may poke up a little early this year.   The pasture at the farm has a long history of sheep-grazing, and should be generally free from wool hazards like burdock.  It also has a diversity of grass species.  Where you or I see “grass”, sheep see a salad bar with a wide variety of plants with various levels of palatability.   By rotationally grazing my sheep, I hope to encourage them to eat the whole salad bar and not just pick out the “good stuff”.  A wide variety of plants will give them both complete nutrition and ensure that the tasty species aren’t wiped out by excessive grazing.

The ewes seem to be thinking about weaning their lambs, so the lambs especially will really benefit from some fresh, nutritious new grass.  Though the lambs go for long stretches without nursing, when they do nurse they lift their mother’s rear end off the ground with their aggressive bag-punching efforts.   In response to this violence, the mother walks away after about forty-five seconds of suckling.  The mothered lambs are growing like weeds, while the ones I raised on the bottle are a little slower and on the thinner side.  Perhaps I should have  bottle fed them longer.  I’ve started hand-feeding them grain every day as they’re not very aggressive at the feeder.

Esther and Ida with mom Peggy- these girls are BIG!
Esther and Ida with mom Peggy- these girls are BIG!