well it's been a long time since our last post, where does the time go?
Since our last post we have successfully shown our sheep at various shows, sold some of last years lambs, purchased more ewes and now we're back to lambing time again. This year we have taken a big step in increasing our flock sizes and also starting up a business which sells our knitting yarn and wool products (there will be a separate blog about that!)
So here we are approximately 1 week away from lambing time. This really is the culmination of all the hard work we have put into the flock over the past 12 months; learning from last year and hopefully making improvements.
Our ewes have all been condition scored in the last few weeks and all appear to be coping with pregnancy well, perhaps a little too well in some instances. A few of the ewes are carrying a little too much condition but I'm hopeful this wont cause any issues as they get closer to the lambing dates. It is mainly our shearlings, those who haven't lambed before who are looking & feeling a little tubby. Obviously we'll watch them carefully, my main worry would be prolapsing. This has only happened to one of our ewes before and it was minor but still not pleasant and something to be avoided where ever possible. The first ewes due to lamb are now in the maternity wing of the yard and looking peaceful on their clean straw bed. Generally I like to bring them in a week before lambing is due to start and let them settle. One of our coloured ewes is slightly more skittish than a typical Ryeland so I especially want her to feel safe and secure in the next few days. Already she seems to have settled into her indoor routine well so I'm hopeful she'll do just fine.
Our lambing kit is at the ready; I like to be prepared for worse case scenarios so keep it well stocked throughout lambing. Nothing worse than not having essentials to hand when it's 2am and there aren't any shops open! It's during the time just before lambing that you can feel a bit helpless; a lot of waiting around and just hoping you've done enough to ensure your ewes are in the best of health prior to them giving birth. This year we've made changes to their energy licks, feeding programme and also the mineral licks we provided during tupping... lets see if it makes a difference! They certainly seem to be producing more milk earlier on this year, all I can hope for is that this translates to better quality milk for the lambs. We will also be using a colostrometer to check the quality of their colostrum after lambing. We probably won't do all the ewes but any we feel might be a little suspect based on history or clinical presentation at the time.
so the ewes are in, the lambing kits are ready, bonding pens are up & limed, plenty of straw too.It's just a waiting game now. Wish us luck & we'll keep you posted on our progress ...