Welcome to HighTail Farms, LLC! We're a small farm located in Hammond, Louisiana. We are dedicated to providing people with ethically raised and humanely processed pastured poultry and sheep, fresh eggs, and raw meat for pet food.
Please follow the links in the top bar for more information on our products and their availability. Continue reading below for our blog where we detail the adventures of raisin' animals and whatnot.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Lambing Season is here!
Earlier in the evening our big, woolly ewe, Whoopi, had given birth to a ram lamb who we decided to call Degas. When we found him, he was soaking wet and looking chilly so when temps dropped into the thirties, I decided to make a late night check on him and to see if any of our other sheep had decided to lamb. Of course I had my trusty farm dog, Rialey, at my side.
I shined a flashlight into the darkness and saw the reflection of the eyes of most of the flock standing in a bunch near the poultry pens. Scanning with my light, I caught a gleam halfway across the field near one of the rabbit tractors, then a little sparkle down close to the ground. Someone else had lambed!
I hurried to the poultry house and flicked on the lights to see it was Bonnie standing off by herself with a little white ball of fluff on the ground at her feet. Bonnie has a history of abandoning her lambs so I knew there was no way I was going to leave her out with that little baby on a cold night.
Swinging into action, I cleared out the milk room of some indignant lady goats and grabbed our lamb sling, a makeshift leash (half of a tie down strap) and put Rialey in a stay. I slowly tried to approach momma, but she beat hooves and headed for the rest of the flock, baby in tow. I caught up with the little one, scooped it up, and very quickly transferred it to the lamb sling.
Sheep are funny creatures. For some reason, if you pick up a lamb, momma will have no clue what happened to her baby and start frantically searching as if the little thing had suddenly vanished into thin air. The lamb sling, a simple loop of plastic, lets the sheep see her lamb again. As long as it is held close to the ground, momma will almost always follow the lamb wherever you want. The other advantage of using the swing is lambs tend to go completely limp when carried for any length of time. It's like they are thinking, "Well, the predator has got me. Might as well die now." When you put them down after being carried, it always takes a while for them to come back to themselves. The sling keeps the babies coherent and calling for mom. Like I said, sheep are very odd creatures.
Anyway, I got the lamb in the sling and eventually caught Bonnie's collar and with one hand secured her with the hook from the strap. With me and little lamby in the front and Rialey bringing up the rear, we were able to get mother and child safely tucked away in a cozy room. I set Bonnie up with water, hay, and a little feed then pinned her to the wall while she ate to make sure both her teats were clear and both sides of her udder were producing. All that done, I gathered baby again and found that Bonnie had had her first little girl. Using the sling and a small fish scale, I found the girl was a very respectable 8.4lbs. Later we decided on the name Dora for the girl.
With Bonnie and her little eweling all settled in, I started to head back to the house only to realize that I hadn't yet checked on Whoopi and Degas. The little ram lamb was up and spunky. He was warm and dry with a full belly and a clean rear end. Whoopi had passed her placenta in the pen, so I called Rialey in to retrieve it (a rare and much prized treat for the farm dog) while Whoopi did her best to shield her little one from the wolf-beast and stomped for all she was worth. Ry backed her up, grabbed the placenta, and happily brought her prize back up to the house for a late night snack!