Tuesday 31 March, 2015
We usually aim to start lambing on 1st April; this year, we’re a bit earlier because we were on holiday in November and wanted to put the tup in before we went to make sure he was working.
According to “The Chart” and raddle marks, our first ewe hit 147 days on Monday 23rd March.
So the shed was prepared and the lambing box restocked in plenty of time and, wonder of wonders, Poppy delivered twins (one tup, one ewe) as planned on Monday 23rd. This is her third lambing – she’s had twins and triplets previously – so it was really no surprise to find her with two lambs, up and fed, without any intervention from me.
Monday 19 January, 2015
We had the scanner here last week to scan the ewes. We've used the same lassie for seven years and she's never been wrong - and I'm hoping she's right this year too.
Of the fifteen to the tup - eight ewes and seven gimmers - all are in lambs. One gimmer is carrying a single and the other six have twins; of the eight ewes, we've got four sets of twins and four sets of triplets. So 33 lambs scanned or 220%. Gulp.
We had one set of twins last year from Poppy; she's expecting twins this year but her twin sister is expecting triplets (she had twins last year). Poppy's triplets were all much the same size and she did a good job of raising them all herself. I'd be lucky to get away with that thsi year, so I'll be buying milk powder and extra bottles, just in case. I might manage to twin one on to the single - never done that before either.
Monday 5 January, 2015
I suppose it's the time of year when we look backwards then forwards. I had a long list of things to do today as the first day "back at work", like booking a post movement TB test for our wee bull, ordering a headstone for Tess's grave and bringing my Flock Register up to date.
I was also taking time to have a good look at the ewes. We've 25 at home just now; two retirees, eight ewe hoggs and the eight ewes and seven gimmers that went to the tup in November. The scanner will be out this month sometime to scan them - just waiting for her to get back to me with a date and time. Taylor and Ted are up at Braeside.
Wednesday 29 October, 2014
I don't want to bore you with tales of Taylor's sex life but so far, he's covered five ewes since going in on Sunday afternoon - Pixie and Poppy, Penny, Lucy and a coloured gimmer with a brown face, that's one of Niamh's twins from 2013. I never know their names until they lamb :-) Five down; ten to go.
Of course, one never counts ones lambs before they're up and sucking (and even then, there's no guarantee that they'll make it to sale), but this is the start of the process. In fact, it's not the start - the start was vaccinating the ewes against abortion, checking them for fitness and checking Taylor for fitness, so the sheep year really starts, for us, in early October, before that year's lambs are away.
Monday 27 October, 2014
Since we only have a small number of ewes, it's not financially viable to buy a commercial system for recording data about our sheep but I do like to have a record of some performance data - I couldn't possibly remember everything, or even anything some days.
So since 2009, our first lambing season, I've recorded how many lambs have been born to each ewe, date of lambing, sire, tag numbers. I now also record birth weights and sometimes 30 day weights but I confess to being less rigorous about this than I might be. We don't have a weigh crate so they have to be weighed using the spring balance and by 30 days old, they are pretty heavy to lift :-)
Monday 20 October, 2014
We normally follow the traditional dates for sheep, putting the tup in with the ewes on 5th November for a 1st April start to lambing.
This year, we’re on holiday from 4th to 11th; while the sheep will be checked every day, John doesn’t know them like I do and won’t be able to say which ewe has been tupped on which day.
So I’ve decided to put the tup in next Tuesday 28th October, making the start date for lambing of 24th March. I can then see that he’s working before I go.
Saturday 18 October, 2014
Today’s job (18th October) was to bring our female sheep home from our temporary grazing. Our fifteen breeding ewes and gimmers were at Barry Mill and our eight ewe lambs plus two “nurse” ewes (retired but two of our “originals” so here for life) were at a farm near Arbroath.
A combination of routine and the docile (and food motivated) nature of the Coloured Ryeland made this fairly easy. Since we’ve had the temporary grazing, getting on the trailer has become part of the normal routine and usually means “new grass”, so loading the two small flocks was pretty straightforward; when they see the open trailer, they’re on.
Thursday 2 October, 2014
With Nemo going for pies in March, we needed to buy a new tup this year. And we have! He's called High Edge Taylor and was bred by Debbie Bostock in Derbyshire. I picked him up in Carlisle on 20th September, so he's been in isolation since then, while he's been wormed and fluked.
Since he seems in rude good health, we let him out today, along with his companion, Little Ted. They are in the "garden" round the caravan - lots of grass for two batchelor boys!
Little Ted is one of this year's tup lambs; his services as a companion for the tup were required because of the untimely death of Dickie, the previous wether. Little Ted is way, way smaller than all the other tup lambs; he's also, coincidentally, out of the same ewe as Dickie.
Thursday 2 October, 2014
Help ma boab! Over six weeks since the last diary entry. But it's not because we've been slacking or on holiday. There was a wee business of an independence referendum going on here that proved a bit of a distraction. Now the result didn't go the way we wanted, but we'll just have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again. But politics is not for this forum, so tat's enough of that.
We've also had the Scottish Smallholder and Grower Festival last Saturday - that takes up most of September. So we're playing catch up a bit in all aspects of life :-)
Monday 11 August, 2014
All our sheep are now at Astwood - twelve ewes, seven gimmers and twenty one lambs - ready for weaning. We're planning to do this next weekend. The ewes and gimmers will run together; tup lambs will go in with the bullocks and the ewe lambs are coming home to Dalmore.
We have fourteen ewe lambs thsi year, so I've sold six and am keeping eight, so I want to have a good look at them before I decide which to keep and which to sell.
I'm culling two ewes and retiring two this year, so I'll have fifteen going to the tup in November. We're collecting our new tup, High Edge Taylor, in September.