All winter long, the temperature has been above normal, the precipitation below level, and even the wind hasn't been too bad.
Now that it's kidding and lambing time, Mother Nature is having her way. Our sheep are quite pregnant and it's time to shear. Another two weeks and it will be past time to shear.
We've had several discussions with out shearer, and he's been pushed way behind schedule by a series of late winter snow storms, beginning the end of January.
What's the forecast?
Snow tomorrow (Monday), maybe snow again Friday, and the same thing about every 4 to 5 days for the next 21 days. Sigh.
Last year the sheep were sheared just before lambing (like about 3 days) and it's terribly risky. We lost a set of trips that we think was the result of the ewe struggling so much.
This is our first year with goats, having helped the neighbors for a couple of years. Our pygmy dam is wider than she is long, and can barely get through her shelter door. We'll be moving her this week into an unused pig pen, with a bigger door. Don't want to take any chances of chilled kids.
The two Nubians won't be far behind with their first kids. They can still get through the shelter door, so no problem there. Same thing with the French Alpine. In fact, we're not totally sure she's preggie, unless she's having a single kid.
This year, we're a bit more prepared, even having a couple of lamb coats for anyone that may be chilled. We've rebuilt the "teat bucket" in hopes of not having to use it. We really prefer the lambs all nurse from a ewe.
Beginning March 1, we'll be on "kid watch". That means four hour goat checks around the clock, even during snow storms, wind storms, etc. Right after that, it's "lamb watch" for the next 3 weeks.
Of course, once there are babies, it's all hands to the pens for as long as it takes, whenever it happens. No more rest for us...