Spring started officially on 1st March and our Lleyn ewes were quick to get the message with the first ewes producing their lambs on 3rd March. This year the ewes have had a hard winter with well-above average rainfall and frequent storms. The fields have been wet and muddy and, even though we have not suffered the floods that some areas have endured, it has been a depressing time.
Suddenly, after days of rain, sleet and hail, we have had a brighter day and lambing has got under way.
Lambing is a very busy time for our team. Long hours and broken nights as they help nearly two hundred ewes to deliver their lambs. Aiden, our stockman, is in charge, overseeing this major operation. We had already pregnancy tested the ewes a few weeks ago, so now we have the real test!
We hope that most of the ewes will produce twins. Some will deliver triplets and others a single lamb.
Visitors to the farm often ask us about the markings on the ewes and then on the lambs. Earlier in the year the ewes will have had a coloured mark on their rumps. This is a mark from the coloured marker that each of the rams has on a harness, so that we can see that the ewes have been served (and which ram has served them!) Then, after pregnancy testing, the ewes are marked with separate colours to indicate whether they are expected to deliver one, two or three lambs. This enables us to give those with triplets special cosseting.
When the lambs are born, we again number in different colours each ewe and her lambs with the same number. As you can imagine, things get pretty hectic in the lambing shed and lambs can get separated from their mothers. The numbering system means that, if they get separated, we can get them back together again. Otherwise, left to their own devices, they would struggle to survive.
Let us hope that lambing goes smoothly over the next month and that the weather improves so that the new lambs can enjoy the warmth of the spring sunshine.