Settling in for Lambing

Lambing is due to start the ides of March (15th) and continue for 5 weeks.  Some of the ewes are looking distinctly pregnant, so I decided to get them into their lambing paddock early so they can settle down, create some short grass "camps" and generally be calm and peaceful in the run-up to lambing.  This is the first lambing I've done in 3 years:  Clara, now a 3-year-old, was in the last tranche of lambing and will (hopefully) have her first baby this year, making me an honorary grandmother (yikes).  Knowing the individuals as I do now makes lambing both scarier and more engaging.

 P1:  Galloping into the lambing paddock--such excitement about this fresh forage!

P1:  Galloping into the lambing paddock--such excitement about this fresh forage!

The paddock I've been saving for lambing is the Grass Gully--good sight lines, so I can see the sheep easily from a distance and they sheep can be comfortable that they will see any predators trying to sneak up.  The Grass Gully also has good "land-form" shelter from most wind directions: places where the contours of the land provide a natural wind-break.  Another great perk of the Grass Gully for lambing this year is fabulous forage:  lots of grass, chicory and lucerne.  They should be getting everything they need for good nutrition pre- and post-natal.  

Saturday morning shepherd. Beautiful autumn day! #wgwshepherding

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The whole flock will be together for lambing, though only 100 ewes are pregnant (or at least could be pregnant).  The social structure of the flock, which is now amazingly cohesive, means they help each other ward off avian predators (eagles and ravens) and share baby-sitting duties of the young lambs.  I'm really looking forward to this lambing--confident that I won't need to intervene much, that the ewes will let me when I do, that the weather will be kinder than in October (when I used to lamb) and that I will learn all sorts of new things about my sheep in the process.  

 P2: I love the way the flock grazes and moves along--these two chicory plants attest to the light touch of grazing when there is plenty to go around.

P2: I love the way the flock grazes and moves along--these two chicory plants attest to the light touch of grazing when there is plenty to go around.

 P3:  Enjoying the green grass at the bottom of the Grass Gully's seasonal soak.

P3:  Enjoying the green grass at the bottom of the Grass Gully's seasonal soak.