Briefly got the blogging bug back so decided to stay well away from politics even though my Brexit post last year was the only one that was read by more than a handful of folks and tell the relatively harmless tale of lambing in 2017.
Its been a roaring success overall, only 7 ewes were run with the tup this year, get me sounding all posh and formal, so we were hoping for a nice round 14 lambs as the perfect outcome as we aim for twins from each ewe wherever possible. This means the lambs are a sensible size when born which minimises birthing problems and sheep are pretty much designed for raising two lambs, ie they have two titties. Single lambs can get too big before birth, triplets and higher can be a challenge for some Ewe’s to raise and increase the likelihood of the need for bottle feeding. 14 lambs from 7 ewes would be classed as 200% productivity and be ideal.
Action started about a week after my earliest “look for lambs” warning after a few false starts and concerns, one of the huge North Country mule ewes got things started on the 1st April. She can be seen below with a little Kerry Hill face emerging from her back end, this little one was firmly stuck and had us worried but the ewe led us a merry dance around the field refusing to be helped. Eventually the lad from Swinton deployed rugby league tactics and tackled her to the ground, the lamb had one leg pointing back and hence the struggle. It was quickly helped out by Stephanie and both ewe and lamb were escorted to the shed. Another two lambs followed, the second entirely normally and the third popped out back to front but very quickly. So the year started with healthy triplets and mum seems strong enough to raise them all.
Next up came the twitter famous @theskinnylamb who was lambing for the second time and produced two little boys without any difficulty. One of my two Kerry Hill pedigree ewes was next who also produced two little ram lambs and despite her best efforts we got her indoors just after they were born just to keep an eye on the ewe really who was a tad runny down the back end and needed a tidy up. Both these lambs seem nice and clean with black bits only where they are supposed to be so I will report on their growth and show/sale potential later in the year.
Fourth in line was my oldest Mule Ewe, the only remaining one of the original 8, who produced two more boys and we were over half way through and over the 200% average without any problems. Next to pop was the not so famous sister of @theskinnylamb who is affectionately, if somewhat in-PC, referred to as Fat Lamb. She was never fat but she was the one who got milk from her mother while her sister had to be 50% hand reared on the bottle 2 years ago. She played up to her moniker last year by eating all the extra rations, putting on lots of weight, but didn’t have any lambs. I went soft and gave her an extra year to prove herself and she did us proud with twins, one of which was a girl joining the two girls from the first ewe as the only new female additions to the flock.
The other north country mule then produced twin boys without drama bring the total for the year up to 13 lambs from 6 ewes. Sadly the second Kerry Hill must have had problems earlier in pregnancy and didn’t produce any lambs this year. This is a blow to my hopes of growing the Kerry Hill flock naturally so I will have to look at selling some of the boys to raise funds to purchase a couple more Kerry Hill ewes at the Melton show later in the year. The two handsome pedigree lads pictured below will need to do some growing between now and September, watch out for JarmaCoe Boba and JarmaCoe Bossk stories as they develop.