Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How Cold is Too Cold?

Yesterday morning, I woke up to temperatures that were -39C.  I went out to the barn and it was clearly too cold for the lambs to go outside.  I put the ram out, and the two ewes that are not due to lamb for a little while, then came into check the weather forecast on the Internet.

This is what I saw:
You will note that the Yahoo Weather chart seems to taunt me, showing the actual temperature at - 39C (roughly -38F) and tries to lighten it by saying it feels like only -38C!

Later in the day it got warm enough to let some of the more woolly ewes with bigger lambs outside, this being Diamond, Blackie, and Patsy.  Everyone else stayed in the barn (boring, but slightly warmer).  Of course they all got extra meals throughout the day.

I think they blame me for the bad weather, and refused to look at the camera for their picture to be taken.

A sheep keeper, especially when there are lambs, must be aware of the temperatures for the week ahead, and be willing to plan accordingly.  The ewes who are not doing as well should be kept in and fed extra, any with small lambs, young lambs, or even triplets, should be kept in, as should those who do not keep their lambs close.  Any ewes who are due to lamb should certainly be kept indoors in climate extremes. 

Lambs should be watched for signs of chilling, frost bite, or even pneumonia.  Sudden drops in temperature will also cause scours.  As I also keep hair sheep, I found that the hair ewes, and their lambs, needed to be kept in on this cold day.

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