Monday, 9 January 2012
Time For An Unseasonal Haircut
Now its time for something different! Last week we tried a new management practise with the early lambing ewes at Park Farm and that was to give them a very unseasonal haircut. Don't worry though, they have about 6 weeks before they lamb and then a further two weeks around the farm buildings which will give them plenty of time to grow a nice new woolly coat. There are many positive reasons to winter shear the ewes. Firstly they will be more comfortable and cooler as they are naturally an outdoor all year around species resulting in less stress on the sheep, shearing put to one side, but once a year they get that anyway. They should also eat less and be more efficient with what they eat, as they are no using energy to keep cool. Click YouTube - Farmer Jake to see the action!
From our point of view any ewes having difficulties during lambing should be easier to spot, although they might be harder to catch! We should, in theory, be able to put a few more ewes in each pen, as they require less space. It is much easier to assess the condition of the ewes and put the ewes in better condition groups, i.e. a thinner twin can be bumped up to the triplets to give her more feed. It's also a much easier time of year to do the job. We don't have to get the ewes in from the fields and spilt off their lambs, this will save us lots of time. The coats won't grow a tremendous amount until the later summer so we won't have to gather them in the spring to 'dag' (trim) the dirty back ends of the sheep (after eating the lush grass). It's just an experiment at this time but who knows, if it works we might be doing all of them next year!