The best meat cross is the E'st a Laine Merino and the Cotswold. One ewe had twin ewe lambs and the other a huge single, about ten pounds at birth. She was the only lamb I had to help be born. All others were managed by their mothers without intervention, but I was standing by, just in case. The lambs were born from March to July, with the last two at the end of June and first few days of July. For the longest time, I did not think the Barbados/Shetland ewe was bred, but finally she showed a belly and produced the tiniest little lamb with a reddish coat. I believe the Icelandic ram was the sire, because it looks nothing like a Cotswold, and the Icelandic was the clean up ram. Barbados and Shetlands are very small sheep and do not mature for two years. Two lambs were acquired for breeding purposes, an Icelandic from my Crystal whom I sold to a local farmer. He purchased a registered Icelandic ram and the offspring were very desirable. The other is a Finnsheep ewe lamb born in February and ready to breed this December. A Finnsheep ewe was also purchased. Their claim is lambs by the litter, or at least triplets, if not quads. The problem is that they cannot successfully raise four or five lambs so the little ones have to be supplemented by bottle. That is a good deal really, since mother ewe can take the night shift and the supplemental feedings can occur during the day hours. The Jacob ewes both had twin ewe lambs too! And of course, there are the six Babydoll Southdown lambs that joined the farm in the early part of the year. They will be bred this winter too.
There are lots of Icelandics. The five ewes had 9 lambs between them, and the three ewe lambs from the E'st a Laine Merinos and Walter, the Cotswold. Walter also sired two sets of twin Karakul/Cotswolds and three purebred Cotswolds. There were some other crosses from the ewe lambs retained last year. I am interested in the wool from those crosses, but as of yet, have not found a way to keep the fleece free of vegetative matter. Maybe coats for the sheep? Sadly, the males are destined to be lamb chops though. Hopefully, one or two of the Icelandic ram lambs will be scooped up for breeding, but otherwise, the boys will be food. I must say, farm raised lamb has been one of the big hits at the bed and breakfast, since we are now licensed to serve all meals.
I am grateful for the sheep, the ewes and their gifts of their babies and the rams and their procreation. I am thankful I have the opportunity to be more sustainable and raise these animals with love and care. They are beautiful and each is precious to me and our Creator. Indeed, we are all connected.