Sunday, 17 January 2010

A busy week for the sheep

What an exciting week it's been for the sheep (and us!).

The biggest event of the week was having the ewes scanned to check whether or not they were in lamb - and it's all good news - we have lambs, and lots of them, on the way. Our lambing numbers are around 140% which is very good considering that we have quite a few ewes that will be having their first lamb - we jokingly call them our teenage mums. The 140% means that a good number of ewes are carrying twins.

The scanning process was fascinating to watch. We rounded up all the sheep and they then pass through the crate one at a time. Ian, the scanning expert, scans each ewe and it is incredible to watch as he calls out whether each ewe is in lamb, if so how many lambs and how many days old the foetus is. Each one takes no more than 30 seconds to do and for our small flock it took longer to set up the equipment than to scan all of them. A big thanks to Ian for coming to do our flock and impart some of his knowledge and experience - the man is a genius!

Scanning equipment and crate just about ready to go...

You can see the little "office" Ian works from, ensuring that the ultrasound machine stays dry...

Ewes all penned up and ready to start going through...

The ram responsible for the lambs, we thought we'd let him out the crate first...

a rear view shot showing how lovely and rainy it was...

Our first lambs are due on the 1st April and the majority should be complete by the second week of April. There are one or two stragglers that will lamb the third week of April. Looking at the calendar that's no too far off!

We rounded up the sheep for the second time in the week to trim all of their hooves and give them a worming dose. This was also an opportunity to select our first batch of lambs for slaughter - the deed has been done and those chosen will be heading to the butcher this coming week. That was probably the least favourite bit of the week, but has to be done I guess. It was important to select the lambs going to the butcher before we gave them all a worming dose as those going off were not allowed to be dosed with treatment - all medicines have a withdrawal period following the treatment to ensure that it does not enter the food chain.
We'll be selling this lamb at the Ely Farmers Market next Saturday (23rd January) - so if you're in the area do stop by and say hello.

The thawing weather has been brilliant and we are no longer removing ice from the water troughs every morning. Mind you the sheep still need plenty of hay and additional food as the fields are still quite hard hit following the snow and ice. As soon as it starts warming up we'll have to pay attention to the grass and make sure it's given lots of TLC so that it grows nicely in the spring.

Here's us on another hay delivery...

Right, that's about enough for this week. I'm sure the next week will be just as busy and exciting.


  1. Meanwhile down here in SW France nothing is happening except timbers being cut out of the barn in preparation for its new roof, so you are a continuing inspiration to us for when we also get a very small flock of sheep, hopefully this year. Not sure whether France does ultra sound though, they seem to be more into letting things happen without too much planning.
    Hope your farmer's market goes well.

  2. Hi Vera
    Thanks for the updates on SW France, sounds like a fantastic set up you have there. It's great to compare and hear how others are getting on as well. Don't know about you, but can't wait for Spring to arrive.

    ps. apologies for delayed response, I only just discovered the comments tag today.