This month has been up and down weather-wise. We’ve had snow and beautiful frosty mornings. Such a pleasure to be able to walk the dogs and come home clean. Not quite so good for the livestock as there’s no grass to eat so we have had the sheep inside for a bit of respite and a trough of oats.
On the flip side when the thaw happens we once again return to soggy ground and what seems like oceans of mud.
We have been busy preparing the barn for the lambing ewes, cleaning out pens, putting down disinfectant so that it’s all ready for them, and they could be needed as soon as 30th Jan, which is our first possible lambing date, nevertheless, it’s unlikely that any one of them will pop on that day.
Most years we have them scanned as it is so much easier when we know they are definitely pregnant and also the estimated due date. However, this year, time just got away from us, and we didn’t get it done so it will be a bit of a guessing game. We will have to watch them all much more closely. Most of the girls look pretty fat, especially Big Bertha (pictured) but then their fleeces always make them look much larger than they really are. Last year Bertha failed to get pregnant, but we’re hoping she is in lamb this time. She only ever has a single lamb, but it’s always a whopper and gets well and truly stuck!
The biggest giveaway is when they start to bag-up (their udders fill with milk), but even that is not a reliable indicator. Some bag-up the night before and then catch you out with a surprise lambing the next morning! One thing’s for sure; we don’t want them giving birth outside on the sodden ground as the lambs wouldn’t survive long. Vigilance is key.
Our favourite bit, apart from when it’s all over, and we can get some sleep, is when they are all tucked up in their pens on a thick bed of golden straw, bellies full, snoozing peacefully waiting for the moment when it all kicks off, and chaos ensues!