Sometimes breeders are unkind. I mean, who would breed a sheep to have lambs in the dead of the cold winter? Dorset sheep are good mothers with lots of milk, but when they have twins, cleaning up the wet lamb before it freezes when there is another wet lamb also to clean up, might not be possible. All would be well if they were in a lambing barn and they were watched, but the sheep at the Fat Ewe Farm live outside. Although they do have several shelters, they really sleep under the stars or somewhere out of the wind. Only when it snows or rains do they seek shelter. The ewe is well protected from the elements where she is, but she is outside and tonight it is minus 22 and windy. She has hollowed out a place to have her lambs and the lambs have dropped into the birthing position, demonstrated by her hollow sides that were very round yesterday. I sure hope she manages well without me. If I fall asleep soundly, I will wake in the morning and check her, but if she lambs at night, I won't be able to help her. Dorsets are a relatively hardy breed with decent wool and a meaty larger carcass. They are sought for breeding programs to provide the lambing out of season and propensity to have twins, but are most often cross bred to an even larger sheep for fast growing big lambs. Here at the farm, the sheep are bred once yearly, though about half of them could be bred three times in two years. Poor ewes! It is not so much about the money from the lambs, or even the wool, but to learn sheep husbandry and to love the sheep, that they exist here on the farm. I love the Dorset mamma and sure hope and pray she delivers sound healthy strong babies that won't freeze. Why does it have to be so ccccold?
Fluffy writes daily about the experiences on the farm and with the bed and breakfast patrons.