31st March: 7 lambs so far from 5 ewes – half-way there! Mainly Blue-faced photo’s so far, but one Gotland!
Jupiter was clearly quick off the mark as all three black Blue-faced Leicester ladies, Juno, Venus and Minerva, have lambed – and all the lambs are black too, which is excellent. I have been reading a very good article on colour in Wensleydales by Dr. Jeanie Muddle and discover that I should expect pretty much 90% dark from dark parents, so this is good. We have 1 single (Apollo) and 2 twin rams (Romulus and Remus) and 2 twin ewes (Maia and Flora) and all are big strapping things – a bit like shire horses compared to the much smaller Gotlands!
The Gotlands number 1 single ram (Thor) and 1 single ewe lamb (Freya) each from Diana and Emily (whose proper name is Mathilda), and thus also from Jonathan and Sonny. So we have 5 Gotland ladies left to lamb, including Sixpence who will have a cross-bred lamb out of Jupiter. Sixpence and Syliva look as if they will explode or lamb soon, but have looked like that all week …. while Grace and Sally look less ready and I am not sure about Penny still, as she had a bad abscess on her leg which may have terminated her pregnancy, though Emily surprised me (she had a badly cut knee and was pretty thin but a day of pen-rest seems to have done the trick).
As the BFLs are all Roman, because of their noses, I have decided on Norsk names for the Gotlands this year!
After a day of “mothering-up” in the lambing pen, the lambs are tagged (one tag only for now as the electronic ID tag can be done later), have long tails ringed and, if necessary, the rams are castrated with rubber rings too. One of the Blue-faced Leicester ewes, Minerva, has a long tail still and it does get pretty dirty so, although I try not to intervene too much, I decided to dock the lambs, but not too short as tails are useful to brush away flies and keep out drafts. I am also keeping the ram lambs entire this year, partly because I need some replacement rams and want to see how they develop and partly because the big ones will go for meat in good time if not selected as rams anyway. Also I hate doing it!
So now we have all this week’s crop of lambs out in the field with their mums and the rest of the girls, so there is general mayhem and disorganisation at meal times when the mums rush in for food and then worry about which lamb is which – the Gotland lambs seem much more likely to walk to heel behind their mums than the BFLs, but this may be just because the BFLs are a couple of days older.