We are as good as done with lambing for 2018 and decided to run preliminary numbers (we will update this once the last 10 ewes remember that it is time to lamb).
We bred a large number of ewe lambs this year, the ewe lambs were mostly our 2017 lambs but we also bought the entire Double Irish Farm flock when they decided to retire from farming. Ewe lambs are a lot more likely to have singles, so keep that in mind when looking at the data. The pie chart below shows that 38% of the ewes that lambed were ewe lambs.
In 2017 we had a 200% lambing rate and knew that this year would not be the same because of the number of ewe lambs that we bred. The ewe lambs only had a lambing rate of 129% which brought our overall lambing rate down to 187%.
The percentage of twins we had was very close to the 49% we had last year, but the percentage of singles went from 20% to 33% due to the number of ewe lambs that we bred. We did have a few of our our older ewes only delivering singles, huge singles, still as the previous chart showed they overall had around a 200% lambing rate.
The ewe to ram ratio was very close to 50/50. To be honest, it did not feel like that while lambing, we got to a point where you would think (and say) "Oh no, not another ram lamb".
We did use rams with varying birth weights. The ewe lambs were bred with rams that have a history of lower birth weights, to help them have an easier first lambing. We did not expect singles from WHK 1352 seeing that he was bred to mature ewes only, he sired three singles and yes the average birth weight for the three singles was 15.63 lb.
Below are the preliminary number of lambs born by birth type and by sire for 2018 lambing. This year about 92% of the ewes bred lambed within the first 18 days, the busiest day was when we had 27 lambs born in one day, this day made the other days seem quiet.