Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lambing

A sure sign that Spring is coming are the appearance of lambs in the fields. Lambing time normally occurs once the grass is starting to grow, but there are some breeds of sheep that can breed year round and mine are some of them. Our ewes are Rideau ARCOTT developed here in Canada and we have one Charolais also. The farm that had them before us used to lamb 3 times in 2 years but for our own purposes we'll just lamb once a year in the Spring which means breeding them in late October/November. Of course we got our sheep already bred in September which means lambing time for us is now, when the wind is cruel and the snow is flying over the cold frozen ground. Still, I'd rather lamb in the snow than in the wet. Today we're going to hopefully get the sheep moved into their new barn and get some tarps over the roof. Roof first, then we'll figure out how to move the ewes. Bribery with grain seems to work well so I just won't feed them right away when I get there.

Because I don't know the exact day they were covered by the ram (bred) I can only guess at the day they'll deliver. I think 3 of them will be in the next 10 days so that means keeping a watchful eye every 4-6 hours, day and night so a ewe in distress isn't left too long before help arrives. It's not feasible for me to spend 24 hours a day there with only 5 sheep when I have children at home to look after. Next year will be a bit different because we'll have more sheep and we will be living on the farm by then so no driving will be needed.

Lambing time on a sheep farm is really an amazing time. If you'd like something interesting to watch I'll put up a video for a BBC2 show called Lambing Live and you will find 4 episodes to watch for 2011 and a series for 2010 too. They're fun and interesting, and you'll have a much better appreciation for shepherds! I guarantee you'll learn something too.



Well I'm back off to the barn, stay warm wherever you are!

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