We have made a slow start to lambing, with only three ewes lambed. We have five lambs so far, three good ewe lambs and two ram lambs. Our lambing shed is full to bursting with pregnant ewes so hopefully we will have lots more lambs in the coming days and weeks!
This is Willow and her lamb May. Willow is a shearling ewe and she was reared as a pet. Normally our pet lambs are reared in a pen that has a creep gate out to the main pen with all our ewes and new lambs so that from the start they are part of the flock, but Willow was a late lamb and reared on her own so she was never sure if she was a sheep or not and didn't really integrate well into the flock. Although Willow ran with the ram last autumn we didn't think that she was in lamb so we got a big surprise in May when she produced twins, one of whom unfortunately died. Since Willow has had May her personality has changed and she is now part of the flock. A very happy story indeed.
We had a very sad day today, we lost our last Castlehill ewe, Karla. We bought Karla from her breeder, Karl Gill, at the Blessington Sale as a shearling and she has been a fantastic ewe in every respect. She was champion at Tullow Show as a 2 year old under Robert Locker and she produced triplets every year, we have 3 of her daughters in the flock and many granddaughters. She was by far the biggest ewe in our flock and yet she was so kind and gentle. It’s fair to say that our flock is where it is today because of three exceptional Castlehill ewes, Dot, Sarah and Karla. All of them were successful show sheep but they produced superb lambs and passed on their great temperaments to their lambs. It feels like today is the end of an era, but we are grateful that we have so many ewes in our flock that are descended from the Castlehill ewes.
So far we have shown our sheep at three shows - Gorey, Clonmel and Mullingar. We are delighted with how the sheep are doing this year. At our first show, Gorey, our ewe lamb was reserve champion, with Matthew Kehoe's ewe champion. Clonmel followed, and new member Cathal Walsh's ewe lamb was champion with our ram, Border Spartan, reserve champion. At Mullingar show Border Spartan was champion with Cathal Walsh's ewe lamb reserve champion.
Our shearling ewe, Sugarloaf Flossie, has done well, winning second prize at Clonmel and Mullingar, and our two ram lambs sired by Border Spartan have also done well, winning 1st and 2nd prize ram lambs at Clonmel and 2nd and 3rd prize at Mullingar.
Our next show will be Tinahely Show on bank holiday Monday, 2nd August.
We have just returned from a fantastic Jacob Sheep Society AGM weekend, hosted by the Wales region. Twelve Irish members made the trip to Wales by ferry - and thank you Paul Colhoun for doing all the driving and for organising all the travel arrangements. The weekend activities included flock visits to the Pentrenant, Mayhill and Hope flocks, three outstanding four horned flocks. We also had the chance to visit Aberglasney Gardens and the Botanical Gardens of Wales. The Plough hotel made us all very welcome and we had a fantastic weekend. Thanks to the Wales region members, in particular Siwan Harries, for organising such a great AGM.
Photos of the weekend are in the Pictures section, and also on the Stonecroft and Sugarloaf Jacobs Facebook page.
Our lambs are looking super at the moment, and we have finished lambing at last. We are looking forward to the show season. Please take a look at the Events section for a list of JSS events that will be held in Ireland this year.
Our ewes started lambing just over two weeks ago and so far we have 18 lambs from 9 ewes. Most of the new arrivals are sired by our new ram, Border Spartan. The lambs are really impressive and we are delighted with them. It will be a challenge to choose the best ones for showing! We have had two sets of triplets, so we have some pet lambs on our Shepherdess feeder. Our old ewe, Sarah, is ten years old now and is one of the ewes that had triplets so we are only letting her rear one of her lambs. It is her last set of lambs - next year she will be retired and we will keep her to look after our ewe lambs when they are weaned.
Below are some videos of the new arrivals. We will update you with photos of the new lambs as they are born.
Photo of the Exhibitors and Judge at the Clogher Valley Show, July 2015. L to R: Gary Freeburn, Alex Hamilton, Ruth Harkness, Johnny Harkness, Joseph Duff (front), Paul Colhoun, Alex Colhoun, Sharon Colhoun, Nicola Fletcher and Adrian Hamilton.
We have been to the Jacob Sheep Society AGM in Derbyshire in the UK. We had a fantastic weekend, with plenty of fun and some really fabulous flock visits. Take a look at the Pictures page to see some photos of the weekend.
Our lambs are getting big and handsome now, and we have weaned some of them. The grass is starting to grow, at last, so they are growing on well. We are getting ready for the Irish Region Open Day on 27th June. Members will be travelling from all over the country and some will be staying overnight in Roundwood. We have lots of activities planned for the day and hope to have some good sheep on show, so we are really looking forward to the day.
On Sunday morning we had a set of twins from one of our first time mums, Nutella. She had a ram and a ewe lamb. When we went to treat the lambs' navels with iodine, we noticed that the little ram lamb had a hernia with some of his intestines outside his body. Waking the poor vet up at 8.30am on a Sunday morning is never a nice thing to do, but she put everything back in its place and stitched up the lamb. He was very weak and we didn't think he had a great chance of survival, but we knew we had to do our best for him. Following a stomach tubing with his mother's colostrum and a nice nap in front of the Aga, he made a miraculous recovery and is now doing really well with his mum and sister!
On Tuesday evening we had a set of triplets. We have a policy of only allowing our ewes to rear a maximum of two lambs, so we took one of the lambs and put him on our Shepherdess warm milk feeder. Our vet rang us today to say that a lamb had been found on the road by a member of the public, and since its owner or mother was nowhere to be seen, they brought the lamb to the vet. We have taken the lamb in and once she recovered from the trauma of her morning, we introduced her to our other pet lamb. We have named the new lamb Angel, and she seems to be settling in really well.
We have had a slow but steady start to lambing, with eight lambs so far from four ewes. The bulk of our flock will lamb between now and 20th March, but some of our early born lambs are looking really good. The lambs so far are sired by Dun-Mor Yogi Bear and Stonecroft Samurai. Below is one of our very promising ram lambs who we hope to show later in the year. I have put more photos of the lambs in the 'Pictures' section.
It's also time to think about our show team for 2015. We have chosen two rams, one shearling ewe and two ewes who will be clipped shortly so that they have plenty of time to grow their fleeces back before the shows start.
Nicola and Geraldine
Two hobby shepherds