Things I did not know about living on a sheep farm before moving to Gortenaghey:
1. A farmer never stops working
2. Lambing Season (the time of year that sheep have their babies) is most high on this particular farm between February and the end of March. Before the ewe (mama sheep) gives birth, all the sheep graze in a field together. When the ewe is ready to lamb, she’ll normally wander away from the rest of the flock and give birth with in the hour. When the farmer discovers the ewe are ready to lamb, they are taken to a separate barn house to give birth. They are kept there for a few days before being transferred back to the field.
3. During this time Farmers check on the sheep typically every four hours (noon, 4pm, 8pm, midnight, 4am etc) Thus, they typically don’t get a lot of sleep and are more stressed out during this time (not that I know any farmers like that…)
4. Most farmers keep the girl sheep (to breed more sheep) and sell the male babies (typically to get slaughtered…so sad and cruel from a once upon a time vegetarian point of view). And I must say, after seeing the adorableness of these new baby sheep, lamb chops will never on my dinner plate again.
5. I haven’t the slightest clue why (call me naïve) but before moving here, I thought sheep farmers just…well..hearded sheep. Completely ignorant on my part. For the first time yesterday I saw Paddy actually delivery a baby sheep (twins!). Gross? Yes. Totally impressive? Little background
- Lambs are normally born head first with the front feet tucked up under the chin)
- Its extrememly rare for the ewe to only have one lamb-typically they have between 2-4 in one pregnancy.
WARNING: The picture below is a bit graphic of a newborn baby sheep:
I’m heading to the farm now everyday with my wellies (farmer boots) so I can get closer next time! Who knows, maybe I’ll even help in birthing one 🙂