The start of lambing this year marks almost one year in Covid Lockdown. I’d say we are very well tuned into our sheep, and all that we do on the farm at this point, as in we have spent many many hours within the farm in the last year. This lock down has helped us slow down and really be on the land. It has not lessened the work by any means but overall it has allowed me to run around less. Peter has been around for all the births, in fact he has helped the newborn nurse if they needed a little extra help, and he was able to see the embryo lambs be born, which I am glad for.
This year we welcome our first pure-bred Swedish Gotland sheep, born by embryo transfer. We have been working on this for almost 3 years. The genetics come to us through Gotland Sheep and Wool International, Anette Skoog, by way of New Zealand. These were carefully selected for the best of the Gotland breed and we are hopeful that they should add quality to our flock.
Last fall, Dr Paul Bailey made his way to our farm and implanted 7 embryos into 5 recipient ewes. We had carefully selected and synchronized 8 ewes for him to use for this project. With the help of 8 ewes and a teaser ram who lives on our farm, we were able to pick the best recipients. We chose 4 Gotlands and 1 Romney. 3 ewes received a single embryos and 2 ewes received 2 embryos. In the end the 2 Gotland ewes that received the 2 embryos are the ones that held the embryos.
Emberlee delivered 2 beautiful ewe lambs on March 10th, and Dorcie delivered another lovely ewe lamb on March 12th. These 2 recipient ewes are well seasoned moms and they are thriving with their precious additions. We are delighted beyond words for the outcome of this project. We are eagerly waiting to evaluate these ewes at 110 days and in the mean time we are lavishing them with care and love along with the other lambs.
We are working with a few farms and putting together packages for these folks who, like us, have fallen in love with the Gotland breed or who are interested in exploring this dual purpose breed. We are hoping to continue to select for the best of the breed and with the addition of these fantastic genetics and of high quality, high percentage rams, we are hopeful that our breeding stock will continue to be of quality.
Now we wait for the last ewes to lamb, a few more Gotlands to go and our Romney-Gotland crosses, our market lambs will be last. As the pastures are starting to dry, the lambs and moms are starting to be out on grass too. The rams will soon move to their spring-summer quarters and as everybody settles in, I will spend more time growing food in the gardens.