Just as the death of a cherished ewe causes sorrow, the birth of new lambs are the bright spot of the year. Generally, for the breed of sheep we raise, this occurs primarily in February and March, which is generally when the weather starts to improve. This lambing season has begun well for us, so far three ewe lambs and only one ram lamb. More importantly, the mother ewes have been among our strongest and youngest animals, which give the lambs the best shot of a
Rarely does the death of a sheep cause more than distraction during the day, sadness for the lost life, but mostly due to the loss of a productive animal and a nuisance having to bury the animal. We generally place a higher value to the life and well being of our ewes, they are not only our greatest resource, lambs, but they are generally tamer and friendlier, less of a burden to maintain and care for. Over the years that we have raised sheep, there have been a few that have stood out, while I am very familiar with all of them, knowing their personalities and habits, a few have found a special place within the herd. One such animal was a ewe that we have owned for over 11 years, a very productive animal, and mother of several other productive ewes. She came to us early in our ranching, one of four ewes we bought from a couple outside of Flagstaff. She was a spooky little lady for the first few years, but shortly after we started to shear our own sheep she came to be a little more trusting, knowing that we didn’t have any desire to harm her. We think it is important that you shear your own animals if at all possible, while they do not like it, it does help building trust between and animal and a shepard. If you hire out the work it is far more difficult to develop a relationship with an animal. Simply put, sheep are not stupid, they are often incredibly intelligent, – I have found them more intelligent than many people I deal with… while they are suspicious of any human presence, the more contact you have with them lessens the fear they have, at least if you are deliberate in your dealings with them. One stupid act can undo a week of kindness, but over time, once trust is created, they can be very tame and friendly. At least it is possible with most ewes, – some are impossible to reach and this is surely because of past mistakes in your behavior as a shepard (sheep do not forget or forgive easily).