A Terrible Lambing Season

The reason for so many bundles of joy in the shed and the house is that the ewes are abandoning their lambs. This happens when they don’t have enough nutrition to produce milk for them. In a poor season, when there’s not enough feed available, this is the sheep’s defense mechanism to allow them to survive.

We could have prevented this by feeding them back in July, about a month before lambing started, but we were watching them carefully, and we thought they were doing OK, in difficult conditions and so made the (with hindsight, wrong) judgement to keep them in the big paddock they were grazing, which still had a bit of feed, and supplement with lick blocks.

At the same time the cows had reached a crisis point, so we were pretty focused on getting them into better conditions. Then just as we decided the cattle were back on track, lambing started and it got pretty ugly, pretty quickly. And the frosty mornings, snow and sleet didn’t help.

We’re now two weeks in, with another four or five to go, and we’re starting to get on top of things; more ewes are raising their own lambs and we’re picking up less, although the crows have found us and are adding to the complications.



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