Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Raddle day

Today was 'Raddle Day', raddle being the coloured dye smeared on the chest of rams so that they leave their mark on each of the ewes they tup. After spending the last 9 months apart from the ewes, with a castrated ram (or wether) for a companion, Davy our Wiltshire Horn ram, rejoined them. A new cycle begins again.

Blue this year
Davy, our Wiltshire Horn ram

Davy won't have to work too hard as he has only five breeding ewes to service. As soon as he was let into the field where they had been enjoying the fresh grass for the last couple of weeks his interest was aroused and he was primed ready to go. All being well we will have new lambs being born in about 145 days or so time. That will be from 4th March 2018 onwards. I'll leave the ram with the ewes for six weeks which means any lambs should have arrived by the middle of April. That's a relatively long period for such a small flock but I want to ensure all the ewes are serviced and it in any case suits us. 

We  hope that we get some twins this time round which was why we 'flushed' the ewes before the ram joined them. There's a big difference in outcome with twins compared to singles and anything above 100% will be a bonus. So that we have a better idea of what to expect, we will have the ewes scanned in the new year so that we have an increased degree of certainty. 

This year's lambs are growing well and remain in a separate pasture. The ewe lambs will add to our breeding stock next year. We have one ram lamb whose days are numbered.

Davy investigates

All of this is just the same processes as large flock holders carry out but without the high levels of intensity. All we can do now is let nature take its course.

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