Every year lambing season starts May 1st. We lamb outside on pasture when the weather is warm, and the spring grasses are productive. Lambing season typically lasts for three weeks. During these three weeks we stay out of our lambing fields as much as possible. We only go in the lambing field to move the sheep to a new paddock and fill the guard dog’s feeder. We have learned the more we try and fix things the more we mess them up. The sheep lamb on their own with no assistance from us. The lambs are slowly rotated through new pastures and always have access to the previous day’s paddock to avoid leaving any lambs behind.
July 15th is the one time each year that we get the sheep in a corral. Each sheep gets vaccinated and the lambs get sorted. At this point the ram lambs are 10 weeks old and are becoming sexually mature. The rams need to be separated from the ewes. Any ram that we keep as a breeding ram is weaned and hauled to a new field several miles away. Any rams that are not selected for breeding are banded and put back in with their mothers. All the ewe lambs go back in with their mothers. The mature ewes will typically self-wean their lambs by the middle of august.
From July until December, we have two flocks. One with ewes and wethers, and the second with rams. Each group gets rotated to a new field several times a week. This is the best way for us to avoid parasites and overgrazing.
December 1st, we put the rams in with the ewes for breeding. This gives us a May 1st due date. The rams are kept in with the Ewes the entire winter as the ewes are bred with the first 21 days. This allows us to have just one group of sheep to manage until the following July when the rams are separated again.