A Record Lambing is in the Books

It is crazy how time flies… it has already been a few weeks since our first group of Rideau ewes finished lambing. We have been wanting to share with all of you how the flock performed. Our ewes hit a record for us this time around with a 264% lambing average overall. The following chart is a breakdown of how our ewes lambed.

2018 A lambing results 2

It puts into perspective how prolific these ewes are when you see that 97% of our lamb crop is made up of lambs that are twins or better, 69% of the lambs are triplets or better, and only 3% are singles. If you take just the ewes who lambed quads and quintuplets we had 39 ewes who gave birth to 160 lambs which equals 410%.

Without a doubt, numbers like these make for a busy lambing season. We were so glad to have some great help this year and somehow managed to keep up with everything.

The great news about numbers like these is that we have a huge number of very prolific offspring to sell. If you are interested in ewe lambs or ram lambs from this early lambing group, make sure to contact us soon while there are still some available to pre-book.

We were very happy with our birth weights this year, which is important, especially when we are getting so many large litters. Birth weight has everything to do with nutrition, and we are hoping to share some very valuable information with you about how we have been feeding our ewes in the last two years to achieve great results out of such high performance ewes. Sign up to be notified when our blog posts come out so you don’t miss it!

 

 

130’s a Crowd

When we were getting started with sheep we had a really hard time finding any information about space requirements for sheep handling pens. We made a calculated guess when we built our pens and chute, and in the end I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I wanted to share some pictures with you to show what is working for us.

This post won’t go into too much detail about our chutes and the flow. I basically want to give you an idea about square footage requirements based on a given flock size.

In this picture we have 130 lambs penned up which are averaging about 80lbs/hd. 100 mature Rideau ewes fit in this pen about the same as these 130 lambs. The pen has some angles and curves in it, but is approximately 17ft x 31ft (527 square feet).

sheep-handling-pen

Across from our handling system we have one pen to sort into. If we are splitting a group, we are usually doing a two way split so one group will go into this pen while the other group is usually running back to the pen they came from down the barn. We have to swing panels across our feed alley to connect our handling system to the sorting pen, but it’s pretty quick to set up. This pen is 12ft x 23ft (276 square feet) the wedge shape coming off the handling system across the alley adds quite a bit of square footage as well. It nicely holds the group that we’re sorting out.

sheep-sorting-pen

Our flock is currently 550 breeding ewes and we typically find that we handling groups of around 100 head or less. We’ve found this to be a good sized handling pen for our flock size. It’s large enough that we aren’t constantly going down the barn to re-load the pen, but small enough that it’s not wasting a lot of square feet of barn space.

It’s not a perfect set up, but we’re happy with the way it is working for us. Hopefully it helps those of you out there who are building new sheep facilities.