The ewes are currently putting on weight, getting ready for lambing. They were with the rams in August, and there is a gestation period of about 5 months so the lambs will start arriving at the end of this month.
The sheep which graze in our paddock are Lleyns. They are “renowned for their hardiness, prolificacy, ease of lambing, strong mothering instinct, milkiness, and easy handling” according to the National Sheep Association.
In order that the ewes are able to maintain condition at the same time as grow lambs, the sheep are receiving supplementary feeding. As with the cows, the grass is growing too slowly at this time of the year so does not contain much energy or nutrition.
The mix the sheep are given contains
- rolled barley (grown on the farm) – carbohydrate for energy
- dried seaweed (bought) – vitamins and minerals
- ‘blend’ made of bought in soya and oilseed rape, for protein
When the lambing time approaches, they will be brought in only if it is wet. Lleyns have evolved to lamb outside if it is dry and cold. The sheep are regularly checked and any lambs are brought in with their mothers in order to check they are healthy, and that they are able to suckle with no problems. Later when they are stronger they are taken back outside with their mothers. When they are newborn they can be quite vulnerable, and this is the time that they are most likely to be taken off by a fox. Sadly we lost one from our paddock overnight last spring.