At this time of the year, focus moves onto lambing and making sure as many risk are dealt with in advance.
Lots of cleaning of pens, sheds and general equipment to remove any potential biohazards, laying out lambing and maternal sheds to make this relentless time of year run as smoothly as possible.
The general public think that life is just busy at the point of lambing but anyone who has had a baby of their own will know that the birth is just the start of the work!
We focus on ensuring that the ewe nutrition is balanced with what is needed prior to birth to support the number of lambs each ewe is carrying. This is vital for the well being of the ewe and lamb but also financially important with the price of ewe feed at over £400 per ton.
We will begin to lamb on 22nd Feb and will finish on 4th April but thankfully there will be gaps in between the groups to allow for periods of rest and catch up.
Each lamb will receive colostrum from its mother at birth to ensure it has the best start possible. When lambs are born they have no immunity and the colostrum provides initial cover against the nasties that naturally are waiting to harm them. This is THE most critical time as if a lamb gets a bad start it very rarely recovers, as a result there is pressure to get it right during a very busy time.
The postman arrived with the ear tags today, this always focuses the mind as it confirms that the countdown in on to lambing!
Paul nervously anticipated this years scanning day. Local reports suggested that the severe drought in the summer of 2022 had negatively impacted earlier lambing flocks and reports of scanning being 15-20% were being talked about.
The first ewe went into the crate and Paul anxiously waited for the result, you could have heard a pin drop! “Twins” said John the scanner, then the next ewe went in, “twins”. By the time that the first ten had been done anxiety levels had reduced slightly (you always have a level of anxiety when working with sheep as they will always find a way to surprise!).
As the last ewe left the crate there was an enormous level of relief as the results were the best scanning that the flock has ever had 181%. This included two empty 6/7 year old ewes who were given the opportunity to go to the ram one final time due to what they have contributed to the flock.
Our breeding and selection decisions over the last ten years have been made very commercially. We want fast growing, easy fleshing progeny that are born easily to milky mothers and we want twins. It was therefore pleasing to see that over 75% of the ewes in lamb had scanned with twins.
Now time to focus on keeping the ewes in the best possible condition and getting them ready to lamb in February.
They still have time to provide a nasty surprise, the next risk is getting onto their backs due to being heavily in lamb, so a close watch will be needed!
The Texel Sheep Society was on winning form at the NSA Sheep Event at Malvern in July.
After a four year break the Kimbolton Flock was one of four flocks that provided sheep for the Texel Society tradestand.
Four gimmer ewes by 7,000gn Hilltop Cobra were provided and were much admired with some very pleasing comments received.
The trade stand was judged best trade stand and the sheep also triumphed being awarded the first prize for best pen of sheep at the event.
Speaking at the event Paul said “after such a long break from the last show, there was an excellent atmosphere and much positivity from everyone that I spoke to about what the breed and also the Kimbolton flock is trying to achieve”