“The shepherd drives the wolf away from the sheep for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
As some of you know, for a number of years my land has been rented to a local farmer and I have the joy of ‘animal watching’, a caretaker role that suits me well, but with none of the responsibility.
During the long and wet winter months, my farmyard posts have been noticeably absent due to the livestock remaining housebound in the barns. Today I have remedied that situation and the farmyard is revisited.
Regular readers may remember the autumn happenings here on the farm, the tupping season, a notable occasion where the tups (rams) are brought on to the farm to mate with the ewes, three tups in total. Each tup was fitted with a harness with a coloured crayon type block attached to his chest, in turn, this marked each of the ewes during mating. Read more information about tupping at the bottom of this post.
Five months later, Spring has arrived and with it, a small flock of eighteen ewes and 32 lambs.For those of you who don’t have the pleasure of coming into contact with new lambs, I’ve put together a two minute selection of clips from this past week. Please excuse the conversation I have with them!
© SueW-nansfarm.net April 2018 Responding to the word-prompt Notable
Tupping Continued: Some farmers choose to have each ram wear a different coloured block in order to differentiate the parenthood. Other farmers change the colour of the block every couple of weeks to gauge when the lambs are likely to be born.
The ewes come into season around October/November and they are receptive (willing to mate) for about 30 hours at a time, every 17 days. The tup (ram) detects the hormonal changes in the ewes using receptors under his top lip; this is how he knows when to mate with each ewe, but the ewes will also seek out the tup. The gestation period for sheep is approximately five months.