As I wrote several days ago, today marks our new year (at least in sheep terms). Today, we split our ewes into breeding groups and turned the rams in with them. In the process, we evaluated the condition of each ewe (her degree of fat cover, the health of her feet, etc.). The day marked one of our regular chances to check in and take stock of our successes (and failures) as shepherds.
Overall, we marked our successes today. The ewes were in appropriate condition for breeding. The rams, based on their behavior once they were with the ewes, were also in VERY appropriate condition.
Our interns, Paul and Alice, were a huge help today! They helped gather, evaluate and sort the sheep, and they helped put them in individual paddocks. I can't thank them enough! For more information about our Shepherd Apprentice Program, go to http://www.flyingmulefarm.com/shepherd_apprenticeship_program.
The true test of our success over the last 6 weeks (and through the next 6 weeks of breeding season) will be the number of lambs born next spring. In late February 2011, we'll begin to see new lambs. Our hope is that every other ewe will give birth to twins - we call this a 150% lamb crop. We'll keep you posted!