We finished 2020 lambing a few weeks ago, this years lambing was interesting because in a way we were forced into an experiment to see how flushing impacts lambing percentages. We are 100% grass/forage based, that means that ewes, lambs and rams only eat grass/forage (grazing or hay) and we feed no grain or grain byproducts to our sheep so flushing involves grazing the ewes on some of our better pastures before breeding starts. In 2019 we did not have any better pasture available when it came time to flush the ewes and we knew that 2020 lambing will show us what lambing looks like when we do not flush the ewes.
One of the impacts of not flushing the ewes was that we did not have any quads this year, we were very happy about that because quads have not been productive for us on 100% grass/forage. The other impact was that our lambing percentage dropped for adults (including two year old ewes), this year we had a 201% lambing rate compared to the 217% lambing rate we had last year.So far we like what we are seeing, we have mostly twins and our triplet lambings were close to our single lambings, nicely balanced.
We lambed 80 adult ewes, 38 two year old ewes and 26 yearling ewes. The graph below shows the breakdown of birth type (single - 1, twin - 2 and triplet - 3) for the three age classes of ewes, the value shown is the lambing not the number of lambs.
We lambed ewes from 1 year old to 8 years old this year. Here's a detailed breakdown by ewe age.
We try to keep lambing season as short as possible. We want our lambs to be born close together in order to be able to better compare them as one group. You also have fewer health issues when lambs are of a similar age.
Lambs - Gender
We had 47% (125 lambs) ram lambs and 53% (141 lambs) ewe lambs.
The ratio of ram lambs to ewe lambs by sire was a lot better than what we had last year.
Lambs - Birth Weight
The graph below shows the average birth weight of single ewe lambs (1-E), single ram lambs (1-R), twin ewe lambs (2-E) etc. for each sire we used.