It is the ram's favorite time of year at Whinmont Farm: Breeding Season.
This is Erik our ram. He is a Suffolk ram with a mild disposition who loves to have his ears rubbed. He has eagerly been awaiting mid-October.
Sheep are short day breeders. Which means the ewes will come into heat as the daylight gets shorter each day. We choose to breed our sheep later in the fall than most farmers. The majority of farms will turn their rams out with the ewes in August or September. This would result in January or February lambs. I am not a fan of lambing in the middle of winter and this leads us to turning our ram out in the middle of October.
The ewes have been very interested in Erik recently as some have already come into heat. There is a lot of longing stares between the two pens.
Mid-May the pasture and weather was ready for us to turn out the sheep. We typically wait until at least May to turn the sheep out to pasture. We like to ensure that the vegetation has had time to grow enough to take the pressure of cabin fevered sheep.
This is the first pasture we opened to the sheep. The grass and clover is long and ready to be trimmed. This is one half of the pasture.
The older sheep were the first out the door, they knew what was coming and couldn't wait.
Bixler's Girlfriend leading the pack out the alley.
The sheep barely made it out the alley before they started indulging in the sweet new grass.
Then my favorite part of spring started happening. Something about being out for the first time makes the sheep so excited, they can't contain their excitement and start running like crazy! It is a site to behold, I love watching their pure joy.
After running hard it was time to get back to eating.
It is going to be a great spring and early summer.
This group of lambs is a bit mischievous.
They're plotting something..... I am just not sure what it is yet.
This weekend we started fencing in a new pasture.
Currently our property only has three fenced acres of pasture. As we grow our herd we need more acres to provide high nutrient, dense pasture to the sheep. When completed this will add another eight fenced acres. We hope to have this completed before the end of the month when we turn the sheep out for the first time for 2015.
Marking where the posts will go.
A little progress at the end of the day.
I love spring. When the earth finally tilts enough for nature to be pulled out of the grips of winter and bloom again. It is such a relief to finally see grass sprouting and days getting warmer. However, I do not think I love spring as much as the sheep. They wait in anticipation for when we finally let them out for the first time. We like to wait until the grass has a good growth on it before we actually turn the sheep out for the grazing season, but we typically will turn them out, for a couple hours when the sun is out once spring comes around. Here are some pictures of their joy on being let out for the first time this spring.
The seaman tells stories of winds, the ploughman of