PHOTOS: Lambing season at the Open Heart Ranch | PostIndependent.com
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PHOTOS: Lambing season at the Open Heart Ranch

A ewe and her lamb rest together in a holding pen at the Open Heart Ranch.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Lambing season is coming to a close at the Open Heart Ranch nestled in Grass Valley near Harvey Gap.

The Roberts family purchased its first band of 1,000 lambs in 1963 on the day president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Today the family runs a flock of 1,700 sheep on around 1,000 acres and expect to have around 2,300 lambs by the end of the season.

Warren Roberts checks on ewes and their lambs in one of the outdoor holding pens at the Open Heart Ranch.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Bryce Roberts takes a handful of hay to a yearling ewe that just gave birth to two lambs at the Open Heart Ranch
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The monthlong cycle takes place generally through the month of April, and this has been the best year the Robertses have seen, thanks to a good alfalfa crop last fall.



Similar to calving season, the Robertses and their ranch hands often work 16-hour shifts and monitor the ewes and their lambs 24 hours a day. From supplemental feeding, medications and keeping the lambs warm during cold nights, the ranchers become makeshift mothers for the new generation of sheep.

Bryce Roberts feeds a bum lamb nutrient-dense colostrum, which is high in antibodies and antioxidants to help the lamb build a strong immune system.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Bryce Roberts gathers ewes and their lambs from a pen and into a trailer to be taken to a grazing field on Main Elk north of New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Derek Roberts ushers ewes and their lambs out of the trailer and into a grazing lot on Main Elk.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Warren Roberts checks on ewes and their lambs in one of the outdoor holding pens at the Open Heart Ranch.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Black and white-face sheep graze together in an alfalfa field at the Open Heart Ranch.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Bryce Roberts helps two newborn lambs latch onto the yearling ewe shortly after birth in one of the indoor holding pens at the Open Heart Ranch.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent
Derek Roberts checks on ewes and their lambs that were recently transferred to a holding pen and grazing lot on Main Elk north of New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com.




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