Shearing now can help ewes thrive and increase lamb crop
I split my sheep flock into two groups, the first group of 100 lamb down in January and the second group of 200 lamb down in March. The ewes are mainly Suffolk crosses, with Belclare and Charollais in the mix.
I sheared the March ewes over the weekend and they will have seven weeks of wool on them when they go to the ram on October 20. This is their second time being sheared because I do all the ewes in May every year.
I find shearing those ewes now means they eat more and put on more condition, resulting in a higher lamb crop next spring. The shearing also means they are easier to handle at lambing time.
The rams will go into this bunch at a rate of one ram per 40 ewes and the rams stay with them for three to four weeks. The ewes will be scanned at 90 days and housed in mid-December. They are penned according to whether they are carrying singles, double or triplets and fed accordingly.
This bunch will lamb down from around March 15, with the majority lambed by April 1. Ewes and lambs go back out into the field after two days, depending on the weather conditions.
The early bunch of 100 ewes were flushed in July and are in super condition because this year has been so good for grass growth. Sponges were put in on August 7 and removed on August 21.
Charollais, Suffolk and Texel rams were put in last Monday week (August 23) so they will start lambing around January 14.
Being a part-time farmer, I like to put rams in on a Monday so that lambing starts on a Thursday and continues over the weekend. I take time off work to supervise the early lambing, which should be finished in five days.