And it has started! Our first lambs arrived this week. So far we have four moms, three sets of twins and I set of triplets. All are doing well except for one. She is one of the triplets; she was breech; and we had to help the mom quite a bit to get her out. In fact I just got in from the barn and Gab is still out there keeping an eye on them.
This lambing period is quite special for us. Although this is our second round of lambing, this is the first time the lambs are a result of our own breeding schedule. As I mentioned previously, we bought our sheep pregnant last year. This is the first full cycle for us.
We bought 2 new rams this year (we have 4 in total). We called them Smokey and Bandit. Smokey is from les fermes Solidar in Quebec. His dad is a purebred Lacaune from France and his mother is from Chicoutimi. He is big, handsome and a bully. He likes cheese and good wine. We have to be careful when we are in a pen with him. Well, Gab has to be careful; I won’t go in a pen with him. Bandit is from Wooldrift Farm. He has a large frame but a mild temper. . Wooldrift Farm is the first to have imported East Friesian embryo to the country and have a very good reputation. We are quite happy with these two fellas.
Although a lot of research and consulting went into our decision to purchase these rams, we were still nervous that perhaps they would not do their job. Our nightmare was that we have 120-some ewes to breed and none of them get pregnant! I guess this is the feeling of being a boss. Being responsible for the final decision, trusting you made the right one! We were quite relieved to see some nice growing bellies and udders; indication something good was happening. Pregnant ewes may seem like a small feat, however it is a quite significant accomplishment for us and we will definitely be celebrating it!
On another high-note, we have a co-op student, Keegan, that just started working with Gab for a few hours a day for a couple months. We are extremely excited about this. We are excited to have this help in the barn but also Gab is excited to have the company. Going from his job as part of a dive unit with lots of co-worker interaction, to being mostly alone on the farm all day, is quite challenging sometimes for a him who likes to be social.
For new farmers, or any new business, a co-op student is a fantastic way to get some extra FREE help for a few hours a day. We encourage those who would benefit from it to approach your local high schools and see if they have any students that would be interested in your project.