On March 30th, the birth of this little ram opened the 2022 lambing season - a little later than expected, but that made it extra exciting once again. As we have 13 pregnant ewes again, we are expecting about the same number of lambs as last year. And we are curious to see whether this time the number of female lambs will finally exceed that of males - in the last 3 years always more males than females were born.
The first lamb this year, Akio.
Alluvial meadows and lambs enjoy the beautiful weather and the fresh grass.
On April 6th the last two lambs were born. This year's lambing season is already over after just under 6 weeks. As at the start, there were also two girls at the end. A total of 22 lambs were born from 13 ewes, of which 9 are female and 13 are male. Now there is a lot to see on our pastures. This not only pleases us, but also the walkers and visitors.
The lambing season started one day earlier than planned. Two newcomers greeted us during the morning check. Two girls. Since last year only 5 out of 14 lambs were female, we are excited to see how it will end this time. But either way - the joy about every healthy lamb is great!
The first lambs are there!
Cold and warm weather - its been changing frequently this winter.
This winter was certainly interesting for our Herdwicks. The weather had a lot to offer. It snowed more than usual and more often than usual it was very warm. Even in January and February there were days that would have been more suitable for late spring. Apparently that didn't bother the sheep. It seemed they enjoyed both the snow and the sun.
Our Herdwicks stay on the pasture all-year-round. Also, most the lambs are born outside.
After it had not rained for a long time in spring, the grass finally started to grow in mid-May and since then, there always has been plenty of food. The growing lambs are as happy about that as their mothers and fathers.
To a sheep, there is probably nothing finer than a green meadow.
The last birth of 2020. This time, we could be present.
The last lamb came a little later than we had thought, on June 1. We had not really expected it anymore.
In total, this year’s season yielded 14 lambs from 11 ewes. Nine boys and five girls. The births mostly went down without any problems. Though in two cases, help was needed. STRESSFUL for us beginners.
But now we are overjoyed, and we have learned something!
That was not easy this year. Many shearers come to us from the Czech Republic, Slovakia or other neighboring countries. Because of Covid-19, they could not enter Austria for a long time and the local shearers were too busy. But then, with just a little delay, it worked out at the end of April.
You know who can do it. The pros can do it in less than 2 minutes. It went swimmingly!
Little Ilvy. She is only one week old.
Lambing season is starting.
There is a time when you get to the pasture every morning, full of anticipation. For Herdwick sheep keepers, that time is from March to April, sometimes May.
The first two lambs were born at the end of March this year. The bigger the relief of lambing season finally starting!
Andreas is a young ram with already impressive horns who was born in Baden-Württemberg and has already sired offspring. Including him we now have 4 rams. This adds to the opportunities of breeding in fall 2020.
After the quarantine, Andreas first challenged his new best friends, Michael (left) and Claus (right). Especially with Claus there have been a few fights. This time, Claus still asserted himself.
Andreas (center) with his new best friends.
This is Manfred. He is now the youngest ram in our group.
Early in December 2019, Manfred came from Saxony to us. His father came in 2018 from Lake District in northern England to Germany. Through rams with different ancestries, we want to ensure the genetic diversity of our lambs.
It is mating season. We separated our grown ewes into two groups and assigned a ram to each of them. Hopefully we will see many healthy lambs on our meadows in April. We are already looking forward to it. Until then, winter must be outlasted. The sheep have prepared themselves well. Since the last shearing, their wool coats have grown 10-15 cm. And we have stored enough hay over the course of summer.
It is fall. The sheep like to lay in the forest while it is windy.
Our little clipped flock in new colors.
Hoping that our last ewe was going to lamb, we had delayed the shearing for a while. But then it was time. 3 minutes per sheep. After a little more than an hour, all of our sheep were almost naked. And not only that – every sheep gets a completely new coloration. The young ones vary between almost black and different gray shades, the older ones between light gray and almost white.
After a consulting talk with a staff member of the Chamber of Agriculture, we have made a request on March 1 2019 to sign a contract with AUSTRIA BIO CONTROL. After receiving a positive answer, we became a member of BIO AUSTRIA. Now a 2-year long transition period has begun for us. If everything is going as planned, we will be a certified biologically operated business in March 2021.
The “Bio Austria” plate. Put up just now.
Gerda, the first-born with untypically white wool. Barbara, the second-born is also a little lighter than usual. But both are beauties :)
On 8.3 between 7.00 and 7.30 am the first two lambs of this season were born. Two ladies - on International Women’s Day. The twins weighed 1.8 and 1.2 kg. The births went down without a problem for the mother and the lambs. The younger sheep in our herd were visibly disturbed by the new flock members and have kept their distance for a day.
Within the next 4 weeks, we are expecting more offspring. We are looking forward to it.
Healthy, cheerful and curious were the new ones when they came to our farm. The ‘locals’ are only allowed to watch them form a distance for now though, because for the next 4 weeks a quarantine is happening. For now, the new sheep have their own pen and their own meadow. In early March they will become part of the flock that will then consist of 18 sheep.
These are the new ones on the farm: A two-year-old sheep and five eight-month-old lambs.
Rest for car and passengers. The large trailer exhausts the car.
On 1.2.2019 we drove to Baden-Württemberg to get six new sheep from a resident Herdwick breeder. After our own trailer was totally destroyed a month back, we had to go on the journey with the “slightly larger” model borrowed from the commune. Tough!... for the VW Golf. But the new sheep were happy: less rocking motion and much more room.
For us, the journey was also a win of experience. We saw many beautiful Herdwicks and learned new things about keeping these animals – from very, very nice breeders.
At last we have our own homepage. Brand new and up-to-date. Anticipate how we are going to keep it alive.
Lucas helped us a lot with this project. Thank you very much!
This is what it looks like.
Winter 2017/18. Herdwicks are used to the cold and snow. They would still prefer grass, though.
Winter has begun. All sheep have gotten a lot more wool in the last few weeks and are eating well. Even though they did not like the hay when it wasn’t snowing, it is now a delicacy.