This has been a hard winted in the UK for farmers. So lambing was also hard. I lost more lambs than I have ever done, as did many people, and this is really sad and upsetting. Also sometimes your decisions catch up with you! So I had more stock than ideal for my land, so more lambs, lambed over a longer period from younger ewes. All this adds up to more work and heartache.
And when one is also running a business, there are just too many things happening … and the business also needs me!
I lambed last year and this year but for the previous 3 years I did not – because of the business. Then of course one needs new bloodlines and I became really interested in black Blue-faced Leicesters as well …
Therefore I am now being sensible! I have sold all but one of the Blue-faced Leicesters, with their lambs, and including Jupiter the ram, to a lovely person in Devon who will care for them well and use their fleeces creatively. I have one younger BFL ram only now. This has reduced my livestock total from 49 to 37 at a stroke!
But it has to be only the beginning: I also need to reduce the flock back to a sensible size and not lamb for a few years at least. So my Gotland ewes will be for sale, as will be the ewe and ram lambs. I will keep rams and wethers again, the former to earn a little and the latter to produce great wool. I could also keep a few ewes, just in case and for the wool, and am debating this part of the plan still. The other option is to sell all the rams, as the ewes will produce better wool …. so I shall see how my flock marketing exercise goes and it will help me decide!
So I hope there will be some good homes waiting out there for a very friendly group with high quality fleeces … some of the ram lambs are looking first class!
I know I will miss the winter evenings in the barn with a crowd of ewes in lamb gently chewing the hay, and the joy of bouncing lambs in spring, but it is sensible and practical and I can always visit the other flocks all over the place who send their wool to The Natural Fibre Company!