Well its officially the last day of summer, and our ewes have started lambing!
About a third of the flock was officially bred to lamb this fall, however the ewes bred for late spring were run with clean up rams to catch any girls who didn't take. This means more work for us, as there are multiple groups of ewes that may be getting ready to lamb, but it also means more lambs available for the winter holiday markets!
In the Genesee Valley the weather for our fall lambing season is so variable, that we bring our girls into barns to lamb, generally three weeks prior to them being due. This means that every three weeks, all ewes that have the potential to be pregnant are sorted through our handling system and checked for udder development and other signs of late pregnancy. They are then brought into the barns and fed ensiled summer hay supplemented with local grain for the ewes who may need some additional nutritional support. However, after summer on our pastures, most of these ewes don't see any grain.
Any ewes that aren't determined to be due within the next three weeks, are put back out on pasture and may be put in with the group that has the rams breeding for early spring lambs.
This process will repeat itself until 2-3weeks after the last calculated lambing date, or until all ewes due to lamb have lambed, or are diagnosed as open.