Well what a rollercoaster that was! Usually we split both our rare breeds and our commercials over 2 lambing’s evenly, this year we decided to lamb the majority of everything in the spring as part of our move back towards a more traditional lambing and way of farming (more on that in the next couple of months)!
This year we lambed 20 commercials and 10 rare breeds in February.
All seemed to go quite smoothly with the rare breeds, the commercials on the other hand decided to take their sweet time, obviously the teasers (vasectomised males used to bring females into a closer heat cycle) hadn’t done as good a job as i had hoped, taking best part of 3 weeks to lamb 20 sheep, very drawn out but with 54 lambs out of the 30 ewes (giving us a lambing percentage of 180%) I can’t really complain as the rare breeds can bring down the lambing percentage a tad.
April 1st hit and we are into the 140 commercials and 32 rare breeds, the ewes hit the ground running lambing really well and putting on a good show lambing for visitors on our lambing open days held by Whirlow Hall Farm Trust, which i may add is the first lambing open days done since lockdown 2019! And that was strange welcoming 100s of people into our lambing shed after 2 years without anyone in our lambing shed but us!
Although I only attended the first lambing day in person as the dreaded C19 virus struck our household, after avoiding it for all this time it swept through all six of us, the baby and myself being the worse affected closely followed by Mrs farmer and the boys.
This was not our idea of lambing fun, I was lucky enough that my farm apprentice and some very capable vet placement students covered most of the day times for us (and even a couple of night shifts!) but even so it was rather rough. Myself and Mrs farmer wandering around the lambing shed until 3 am, looking like death warmed up, anyone looking in would have thought we were on some sort of illicit substance.
But as I write this we are onto the very dregs of the last couple of stubborn ewes (3 Hebridean, 1 Scottish black face, 1 Whiteface woodland and 5 commercial mules) and at last count in this batch we have about 271 lambs from 162 sheep (168%) the percentage is brought down a little by the Hebrideans and Scottish Blackfaces having mainly singles, but we are happy with it.
We have a good number of ewe lambs this year so looking forward to getting out to a few sales this year and getting our bloodlines out and about in the world!
One last thing is a shout out to Nairn Wyllie of NJW AGRI SERVICES, who scanned our sheep for the first time this year and everyone ewe performed exactly as he said! And a very friendly chatty nature to boot!!