MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — It's like the childhood song "Mary Had a Little Lamb" has come to life at the Carl Ginapp farm north of Mason City.
It's lambing season.
Already around 200 lambs have been born this season with another 24 due Feb. 23.
Ginapp raises Katahdin sheep.
"They don't grow wool. They grow a real dense wooly/hair coat for the winter and they shed it out in the spring, so they never have to be sheared," Ginapp told the Globe Gazette(http://bit.ly/X84JxA). "These animals are strictly for meat. It's a fairly new breed. It's only been around for about 60 years."
January and February is the typical lambing season.
Four orphaned lambs named Aubrey, Cookie, Milo and Amy are bottle-fed. When let out of their pen, they make a beeline searching for their mothers.
"Just like the song, 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' these little lambs, when they think you're their mother, they will follow you anywhere," Ginapp said.
He said it has been a good way of teaching his three daughters about responsibility.
"It's fun but it can also be a lot of work, too. But it's fun," said Ginapp's 14-year-old daughter, Riley.
"During the lambing season I usually go and feed the bottle babies at nighttime. And if my dad needs help, I'll help him."
Her sisters, Callie, 17, and Camre, 12, also lend a hand with the sheep.
Riley and some of her friends were playing with the orphaned lambs in the barn.
The lambs, in colorations from dark brown to off-white, playfully ran behind the kids trying to keep up.
Ginapp, a Mason City firefighter, said he was looking for something to graze his 10 acres of grass when he learned about raising sheep.
"I bought 13 ewes and one ram the first year and now it's closer to 140 ewes and it's a lot of fun. It's really good with the kids," Ginapp said. "They do a lot of work and it's not bad for them, either.
Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/