Thus far, the first lamb is born, a lovely black purebred Icelandic ram lamb. He mother is very small for an Icelandic. She and her twin sister and the ewe lamb I bought locally are all very small. They are maybe even smaller than the Shetland sheep on the farm. Icelandic sheep should be larger. I suspect somewhere there was inbreeding in their lines and the result was very tiny lambs. The little ram lamb born today is about 5 pounds which is ideal for a first time mother and typical of a smaller Icelandic lamb.
The goats are almost done with their kids. Some were bred to the Nubian billy and the others to the Nigerian Dwarf. There are also some Nigora, or NIgerian Dwarf and Angora goats. Those goats do have spinnable fibre, so are valuable for their fibre. Nigerian Dwarf goats are kept for milk and pets. They have been a great seller on the farm until this year. Wouldn't you know it! This is the year I need to sell them to downsize the herd too. Today, Thirteen had twin doelings. They will be NIgora, but there is a slight overlap between bucks and they could be Nubian. Time will tell. Right now they are hard to distinguish, except they are healthy little girls and Thirteen is a very good mother, which is rare for Angora goats, who have been bred too much for fibre that their maternal instincts have suffered as a result. Bonnie, the Spanish Cashmere and her two Cashgora girls are left to kid. I would say they will kid tomorrow or very soon. Bonnie may have a new home with her kids too. Then the goats are done.
The problem is that the weather is not cooperating. I deliberately leave the breeding until late, starting in May (very late April) so the weather will be warm and temperatures will not dive down too low and frozen lambs result. But we are plagued with late snows and very cold winds. In 2 days the temperatures are supposed to rise finally and spring will be on its way. The thing is, tomorrow is the initial due date and I think there will be quite a few ewes giving birth. I will be out early to check on them, though most should proceed on their own and not require any help from me at all. Primitive breeds are like that. They have retained excellent maternal instincts and abilities and also their ability to lamb on their own is so much better. I far prefer two lambs to four or five, as some of the modern commercial sheep are now starting to have. I would rather be hands off than hands on! Tatiana, a Romanov ewe, will likely have four lambs this year though. They are known for that, for multiple births. That is where their value lies for commercial operations. They increase the lamb numbers in the second generation cross ewes.
Anyhow, we are off to a great start. There won't be much sleep over the next few weeks. My fingers and toes are crossed for a healthy lamb crop. Many will be for sale with their dams and sires if you are interested in starting out with sheep or adding to your own flocks. Wish me luck!