Winter Shepherding

It's been frosty and dry for the past month or so, perfect winter shepherding weather, with sunny days and light winds.  We are getting back into the swing of things, now that the lambs are capable of travelling well.  This weekend we had a lovely walk up the hill out of Old Cabin, through the Basin and into the Grass Gully.  The flock has been in Old Cabin for a week or so, with fresh, if rather long, grass.  However, there's not as much diversity as I'd like--mostly cocksfoot and clover with the odd stand of sedges and gorse.  So they had a sojourn in Waterfall Gully Reserve last week, and this week I'll take them all the way through to the Back Gully Reserve.  

I'm reluctant to leave gates open between the different paddocks in the larger Grazing Area, because it's still too easy for lambs to get spun off on the wrong side of the fence.   I don't want them missing their mamas overnight or even for a couple of days if I don't get back up to check.  So the shepherding is move to a new paddock, shut the gate, then a day or two later, move again.

I don't think I ever told you the lambing statistics:  out of 98 ewes joined, we have 55 lambs--not a lambing percentage to crow about, though it hides some good news.  My best estimate is that 70 ewes were actually pregnant (begging the question why that number is low!) so the lamb mortality rate was significantly lower than it has been in the past.  I lost only one ewe to complications from lambing, and did not have to intervene in any other birth, which is pretty amazing.  Will I do another autumn lambing?  I think so, though it's a bit disconcerting to be going into winter with youngish lambs at foot.  At least, I'm sure they snuggle up to mama at night with these -6 C (20F) frosts!  Even Zac snuggles up to Clara at night.

 Heading across the steep hill in the Basin.  Lots of luscious weedy forage here!

Heading across the steep hill in the Basin.  Lots of luscious weedy forage here!

 Jeff (The Virginian) looking very handsome (and fully aware of it!)

Jeff (The Virginian) looking very handsome (and fully aware of it!)

Sunrise bottle for Zac. #wgwzac #wgwshepherding

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