We expect babies – that is, baby lambs – two times per year on our farm. So that means that we need to plan 150 days in advance – twice. Our matchmaking days are September 12 (ironically, my sister’s birthday, and the day my uncle tells people that Honeycrisp apples will be ready from their orchard) and December 25.
So, like clockwork, yesterday the ewes (female sheep) were sorted to be put with the rams (males). In total we chose to expect lambs from 102 ewes this winter. Our other 150 ewes will be exposed this winter for spring lambs.
Red marks on these girls are a chalk mark made in the sorting process. Chalk is easy to see when opening the gate to these animals and washes out in the first rain.
Ewes bred in this cycle will have lambs under the protection of our 98-year old barn in February 2014.
A second round of breeding on Christmas will allow us to expect lambs in May 2014.