We know that Spring has arrived when our ewes start lambing. And that has happened this week.
The first of our Lleyn ewes produced a healthy lamb a few days ago and this was rapidly followed by two sets of twins. By the end of the first week over twenty ewes had given birth and the little paddock at Stone Farm is filled with lambs running and jumping about, full of the joys of Spring! Their mothers stand back, sometimes attempting to call their lively offspring, sometimes just watching admiringly the energy of the still tiny lambs.
Our breeding flock consists entirely of Lleyn ewes, a breed of hardy animals coming from the hills of North Wales. The rams are Lleyns and Hampshires, and these were put in with the ewes just over five months ago. We chose Lleyn sheep because of their hardiness, and they are indeed well suited to our system of organic, extensive grassland farming.
We are pleased that the weather has been reasonably dry this week as the ewes lamb outdoors, which we think is healthier. They are watched carefully day and night, but these Lleyn sheep seem to be able to have their lambs with a minimum of human intervention. Most ewes have singles or twins, with the occasional triplets. With the latter, one of the lambs will need to be fostered to another ewe, as a sheep can only suckle two lambs successfully.
So it is a pretty busy time on the farm for the next few weeks!
But it is great to see these newly born lambs, so full of energy, running, skipping and jumping around the paddock. Spring has indeed arrived!