So it’s that time of year again. As things are quieting down in the gardens and pastures, sheep hormones and pheromones have been starting to percolate. Breeding season!
We apologize for the long delay in posting on our blog. With many things going on after the start of the pandemic, we decided not to breed the sheep in 2021, so all has been fairly quiet on the farm in that regard. The sheep have been doing what they do best – keeping our pastures trimmed and fertilized. They’ve been healthy and only requiring the routine maintenance that we felt just wasn’t that blog-worthy.
Over this past year we’ve seen the writing on the wall with regard to food security for our family.
Just before Thanksgiving, we introduced Romeo and Cyrano to 6 ewes. The ewes that were bred to Romeo 2 years ago were put with Cyrano, and the 6 that were with Cyrano 2 years ago were placed with Romeo. This will create new genetics in the offspring in April.
As you can see, the rams made fools of themselves pretty much immediately!
And the ewes were pretty interested, too!
We kept them together until a week ago and are hoping that all of the ewes are bred!
Reintroducing the rams to each other is a whole other adventure! It takes a while for them to remember that they were “drinking buddies” only a few weeks ago – there are new smells that drive them wild – literally – trying to “ram” each other! To reduce the ramming speed they can achieve, we put them in a smaller area and strategically placed tires on the ground to keep them from getting a running start at each other! We interspersed the tires with hay bales, hoping that their tummies would take their minds off of the smells. We also sprayed each of them in key locations with deodorizing spray to minimize the smells from the other ewes.
After a couple of hours they seemed much more subdued, and we were able to return them to their normal pasture!
Of course the ewes, when they were reintroduced, had some minor girly issues with each other, but that seemed to pass quickly, thankfully!
Our removal date for the rams was key this season. We have a wedding in the family in early May, and we wanted to pull the rams out so that no lambs would come after the end of April. Lambing season keeps us on our toes enough and can be exhausting! We wanted to have all of the lambs on the ground well in advance of the wedding! Of course that meant introducing them earlier so that the earliest breeding date could put lambs on the ground Easter Sunday!
This will bring back memories for us of our very first lambing of our Icelandics in CT. I will never forget spending Holy Saturday FREEZING, sleeping in a shed with a ewe who was rejecting her lamb! After a couple of intense days our work (and my freezing) paid off, and Matilda accepted Daisy! (check out the hyperlink for photos!) Those beautiful ewes are still alive and living in California!
So here’s to the hope that you won’t have to wait as long for the next blog entry! First lambs are due Easter weekend, and we will have no shortage of photos and videos from our ovine obstetrics ward for you! Just think through these dark winter months of frolicking lambs on green growing pastures!
Our family wishes you and yours all the best for a blessed and Merry Christmas! May the love and peace of the Christ Child reign in your homes and hearts and be spread throughout the world!