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Posted: Monday 5 January, 2015

by Rosemary Champion at 10:29am in Sheep 4 comments Add your own

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.

The ewes look fine - none lame, no dirty bums, none too fat or skinny. They're on ad lib hay and a molassed mineral bucket. We changed from Crystalyx to Harbro's own and they're not using a 1/4 as much - which is good, economically, but I'm worried they're not getting enough :-) After they're scanned, I'll divide them into two groups - ewe hoggs, retirees and singles in one group and twins / triplets in another. Only the second group will get any hard feed in the run up to lambing.

This year, we're feeding them in the Triangle for the first time, which is an area of hard standing between two paddocks. It's got a bit messy but at least no grass is being damaged (unlike last year when the hay racks were in a paddock) and I reckon it won't be TOO bad to clean, come spring. That being the case, it is likely to be repeated in future years. I suppose the only drawback is that the adjacent paddock gets a bit trashed.

The 25 ewes have access to only 2 1/2 acres, so they're not getting much grass now but they do wander around and nibble at what's there. I have toyed with the idea of housing them but I could only house the in-lamb ewes, due to space constraints, so I'd still have the hoggs on grass and I reckon the exercise is probably good for them. The water trough and lick are at the other end of the paddock, so that encourages them to move around - if they were beside the hay racks, I reckon some of them would never go out of the Triangle.

We've been very lucky weatherwise this winter (so far and touch wood). Apart from one wet week in November, it's been pretty dry. Even the ground at Astwood is quite dry.

Fifteen is the maximum number of ewes we'll put to the tup, so we may have some hoggs to sell this year, depending on the outcome of scanning and lambing. One of the eight hoggs is tiny - I think her mother (now retired) had mastitis; I wouldn't breed off her (she's called Vespa) so I guess I'll be looking for a pet home for her later in the year. I'll keep however many of the remaining seven I think I'll need to have fifteen to the tup in November and sell the rest. We haven't sold many females since we started with sheep in 2007 - last year we had 14 ewe lambs out of 21 and sold six.

Still, I never like to count lambs before they're sold, so we'll just make tentative plans and wait and see.

Comments

JTFarms

Wednesday 7 January, 2015 at 5:13am

Is the Harbo own non GMO All Natural?

Rosemary

Wednesday 7 January, 2015 at 11:48am

I don't know, to be honest.

Marie Church

Sunday 1 February, 2015 at 10:38am

Could anyone recommend a lambing course in north Yorkshire?

Thanks

Marie

Rosemary

Sunday 1 February, 2015 at 10:40am

Marie, best post this on the forums. Someone there might be able to help. Or ask your vet or local agri college.

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