We pay a visit to the mart
In all the years we have been selling our lambs at the mart, we have not once gone along to see them sold. A haulier collects them and they are sorted out at the other end by the stock men.
In the past we have had some amazing luck on sale day, many times we have had the highest prices but we know that this is not due to any skill on our part.
This year we tried to get a bit more scientific about the whole process. We kept accurate records of births and noted in detail any problems we encountered. We do tend to get a lot of lambs with entropian (inward turning eyelids) and although there is a quick fix for this, it would be nice to eradicate it altogether from the flock.
As we said last month, we had the best lambs ever this year and so after weighing them, deicided to place some of them in the premium sale.
We also decided that on sale day we would go along to see how the whole process worked and try to learn from it.
At around the same time, we discovered that you can in fact watch all the sale days online. One of us went along, whilst the other stayed home and viewed the experience at the kitchen table!
We did learn something, our fat lambs were not quite fat enough!
At least we now know what to aim for next year.
Selecting beasts for the market
It’s getting to that time of year when we will be sending the lambs off to the mart. Not all of them will go – some of them are just too small and will bring down the prices of the larger beasts – but most will.
We will also sending some of the older ewes, particularly if they have made a poor show in lambing. For instance, one ewe produced just a single large lamb this year, which had to be euthanised by the vet as he wouldn’t have survived more than a day or two.
We also have a couple of ewes who have produced lambs with Entropian (inward turning eyelids). Although this is a minor condition that can be treated by injecting the eyelids, it isn’t pleasant for us or the lambs, and we would prefer not to proliferate it. This year we have decided to be a little more disciplined and remove these ewes from our flock.
However, our ruthlessness only goes so far. We have two older ewes that are way past their prime, but they will remain with us for the rest of their lives. One is Geraldine (front right in the picture). She was one of our first ever sheep and is such a character, although she has been in the wars more times than we care to mention. The other is Agnes, who may also be over the hill, but remains very special to us for one reason or another.
This year, we have been using a new tup, and he has proved to be very challenging. Hand reared by his previous owners he has no fear of humans. Quite the opposite in fact, and we have had to watch our backs constantly when in fhe paddock with him. Given the chance he is more than happy to charge in and butt us, and we have resorted to carrying a bag of straw with us to help absorb the impact!
We won’t keep him on for another year and it’s one beast we will be glad to be rid of.