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Ewes In Full Fleece

Posted 2/14/2013 6:39pm by Eugene Wyatt.



I took the photo above with my iPhone and tweeted the following but what's been running through my mind is that Twitter is for people who have nothing to say and who say it all the same. I'm afraid, I'm one of them.

Evening sheep check: "Not a mouse stirring," said Francisco to Bernardo waiting for the Ghost in Hamlet. 

The sheep pictured are bred Saxon Merino ewes who will be shorn on Monday March 4th as they were shorn 12 months ago on the first Monday in March. The average fiber diameter of the wool will be 17 micron; it will yield 65% of clean wool upon scouring and will have a staple length of 3.5 inches. No one else, outside of Australia, can boast of such figures.

The barn on the horizon is our shearing and lambing shed. Next week we will slowly lead the ewes up the hill with a Kelpie sheepherding dog, Poem, following attentively behind. We are preparing the barn to house them inside in case of rainy weather over shearing. You can't shear wet sheep. The rest of the year they live outside under the stars, rain or shine.

About 20 days later, on the 23rd of March we will formally begin lambing but every year there are several early arrivals the week before which is good for us as we are able to get our 'lambing system' running smoothly for the scheduled deliveries of about 12 lambs a day for the first 18 days then lambing will slow to an average of 6 births a day for the next 18 day ovulation cycle.

After that, we're finished. The preceding October, 5 months ago (the time of gestation), we separated the rams from the ewes after two 18 day ovulation cycles.  

It's now the 1st of May; the grass is green and growing. Another year has begun.