My last posting was way back in 2013 after a long gap. To try to get things going again, I decided to skip ahead to the present for now instead of trying to fill in everything that has happened in between. I apologize to readers who have been wondering if we are still raising Ouessant sheep. The answer is an emphatic yes!. Spring lambing is just about concluded and there are 35 additions to our flock — our largest lamb flock so far.
You may have heard that the Boston area received record-breaking snowfall this past winter. This meant having to dig our way out to our three groups of sheep on several occasions. We plowed and shoveled paths from our garage where we stored our hay to each of three paddocks and dug out the gates so they could be opened.
The gates were a particular problem because they open inward (as they should), but the accumulated snow on the far side hindered their opening. Two are man gates (about 3 feet wide) and yielded to repeated pushes. The third is 12 feet wide and wouldn’t budge until given a little gentle persuasion with the tractor.
The sheep accepted all this in typical sheep fashion with a certain level of complaint about delays in getting their food. On several occasions we broke a path to nowhere for them. They seemed to appreciate this effort as they ran around in circles for awhile with what I can only call delight.
Our three groups consisted of 32 bred ewes, 11 unbred yearling ewes, and three males (two rams and a wether). This year we decided to not breed any of our lambs. We performed AI on 32 older sheep and put in a clean up ram two weeks later.
Three of the bred ewes were 7/8 (87.5%) Ouessant. One of those ewes conceived by AI and had a ewe lamb — our first 15/16 (93.75%) lamb and a ewe to boot. The other two 7/8 ewes conceived with the cover ram and had 7/8 lambs. There were an unexpected four sets of twins.