The rams have been in with the ewes since the 7th of November, so the boys had been doing their thing for 45 days, before being taken out on Boxing Day. Sheep have a cycle of around 17 days, so each ewe should have cycled at least twice in that time. I’ll be keeping an eye out for lambs from the beginning of April.
With all this in mind, I gave the ewes a once-over, drenched them, and put most out on the moor.
They all got a drench for Liver Fluke – the biggest sheep killer I have – and moved onto fresh ground. After problems over the past 2/3 winters, particularly in the hoggs (last year’s lambs), I am drenching the ewes every 6 weeks and the hoggs every 4.
I had 82 ewes at the rams this year; mainly Blackface and Cheviot, with some crosses too. All the Blackfaces and those Cheviots and crosses which are suitable were then walked out onto the moor. About 65 in total.
It’s about 1.5 miles out the back road, across the main road and out the peat road to where I leave them
They sheep are out on the open moor here but don’t stray too far from the glen which has plentiful supplies of grass, heather and shelter. The crofts are so flat and exposed, they have next to no shelter from the gales that hit us in January and February, they also have very little grass left on them at this time of year, and can also harbour things like liver fluke. Being out on the moor solves a lot of these issues.
I also take out mineral licks, which provide the sheep with the nutrients they need but which they don’t get from the poorer grazing out here. The licks also provide the added bonus of keeping the ewes where I want them to be.
Back at home, the remaining 18 are between my parents’ house and Cross School. Plenty shelter and a bale of hay to keep them happy.
In this photo, there is a wee cross gimmer on the right hand side (nearest to the camera, with the dark face), she suffered majorly from fluke in early Spring. I thought she was a goner, as she went about a month without standing, but has made a great recovery. I can’t wait to see how she does this winter.
And while the ewes are all set for the toughest 6 weeks of the winter, both in terms of their pregnancies and weather, the boys are recovering after their year’s work. They’ll be pampered a little more than the ewes just now!