October is an exciting time around the farm. Our Dexter cows have started calving and we currently have four healthy calves on the ground. We are checking the herd daily as 18 more cows should be calving in coming weeks. The herd is rotated to new pasture paddock each week. Each paddock is rested 26 days between grazing to keep pasture recovery and nutritional levels high.
Breeding season arrived for our Katahdins at the end of September. Our rams Fred and Barney are hard at work servicing our ewes. The rams will be removed from the ewes at the beginning of November and our flock will be reunited. Fred will be used for clean up duty in case any ewes don't breed up during their first exposure. We are excited about the potential of this upcoming lamb crop.
The farm has added some new animals over the summer. Cole has shown tremendous interest in the farm over the past year and decided to try raising rabbits, turkeys, and chickens. He has done a great job caring for all the new animals. His turkeys are huge and will be great for upcoming holidays. The rabbits are becoming tame and all the kids enjoys spending time with them. The ISA brown chicks are growing well and will be producing lots of eggs in the future. With successfully raising poultry this year we are considering raising meat chickens next year.
It has been busy the past few months with weaning lambs, making hay, managing pasture, and various other tasks. We took a trip to Pennsylvania and New York to deliver Dexter heifers. We have had multiple people visit the farm to pick out breeding stock from our Katahdin lambs.
We decided to try co-grazing with our mature Katahdin ewes and weaned Dexter calves this year. We were skeptical of co-grazing but have been pleasantly surprised with the practice. The main advantage of co-grazing for our farm has been better utilization of our pastures. Our pastures have withstood the dry weather better than in years past. The practice of co-grazing allowed our weaned lambs access to better pasture rotations as well. We did have concerns about sorting the co-grazing group at first. However, the Katahdins and Dexters calm nature makes sorting them stress free. We have provided the co-grazing group with a standard sheep mineral. We plan to co-graze our mature Katadhin ewes and weaned Dexter calves in the coming years. We hope you consider this practice as well.
March was incredibly busy with the birth of new lambs. We welcomed 54 lambs to the farm. Our 16 mature ewes averaged a 218% lamb crop and our 14 ewe lambs averaged a 120% lamb crop. We had 3 ewe lambs that did not breed in their first ram exposure but should have lambs in the coming weeks following a our last chance ram exposure. Our flock just began its rotational grazing season. We currently have 5 paddocks set up to rotate through with the ability to add more as we enter the summer months. The lambs are growing quickly and will be weaned on May 3.
We just acquired our new herd sire for our Dexter cattle. Five Star Morgan is a proven bull that will be able to service our entire herd. He is a red homozygous polled bull which will provide us with an entire polled calf crop. We are very excited to add Morgans genetics to our herd. However, we will have to wait until January 2021 to expose our cows to Morgan and his first calves will arrive in October 2021. Our fall born 2019 calves are growing great and will be weaned on April 19. At weaning our mature cattle and remaining 2018 calves will be moved to our lease farm to graze through the fall.
Things have really picked up around the farm. We have had eight Dexter calves born over the past five days. Our herd bull worked hard in January and February to service our Dexter cows. Cole, has been helping with the cattle this week and is enjoying every minute of it. He helped tag new born calves and monitor laboring cows. This past Saturday, Cole and Jolie, helped tag our first born calf of the season and noticed a cow in labor. We kept our distance and monitored the cow and were able to watch her give birth to a heifer. This was the first time Cole and Jolie, got to watch a cow give birth. We are still expecting calves from 17 cows and the next few weeks will be eventful.
As we inch closer to fall things are picking up around the farm. We have brought our 25 bred cows back from the lease farm to prepare for calving. We will continue to utilize rotational grazing to provide nutritious growth for our nursing cows and develop strong root system in our pasture to increase spring hay yields. We have four designated paddocks for grazing and will stock pile fescue in our remaining pasture field to be strip grazed once the growing season has ended. We are hoping to graze our stockpiled fescue into January. Our calves from 2017 and 2018 were returned to the lease farm to graze through the end of the growing season. These calves will have half to the pasture ground available to them as we are renovating the remaining ground by no-till drilling fesuce.
Our retained ewe lambs have been merged with the mature ewes for the first time since weaning. These ewe lambs have been managed aggressively to gain weight in preparation for breeding season. The ewes are on good pasture and receiving an additional half pound of grain each per day to maximize potential offspring. We will sort the ewe group into two separate breeding groups and place them on fresh fields to be exposed to our rams. We will be expecting lambs in the middle of February.
We have had a busy few weeks making hay. The time and resources that go into making hay exceed all other yearly projects on the farm. There have been numerous studies done that show hay left sitting on the ground is subject to 20-30% loss. To help minimize this loss we have 66 bales stored on pallets and tarped. These bales should only suffer roughly a 5% loss. This is a short term solution to preserve hay. Our long term goal is to build a permanent hay storage building to help limit hay loss in the future. This is the first time we have stored hay under a tarp, we hope it works well.
A few weeks ago, we were approached by friends about adopting their cat. They told us Mr. Whiskers enjoyed being outside and thought he would be a great barn cat for us. We agreed to take him, hoping he would help to eliminate mice around the barn. To our surprise he has really taken to the bottle lambs we currently have. He is frequently found in the pen relaxing near the heat lamp with the lambs.
It is an exciting time on the farm. We had our first lamb of the year yesterday evening and this morning we were surprised with triplets. The farm is going to be busy over the next few week as 28 more ewes still have to lamb. I attached a short video at the bottom of the triplets.