The farm is busy preparing for lambing season, with thousands of lambs born on our organic pastures every Spring. Our Senior Farms Manager Richard Smith shares his insights on this special time of year – and information on our Lambing Tours on 9th April!
“I started my career as a shepherd many years ago, so lambing is always a very special time for me as it heralds the start of new life on our farm, along with warmer days.
During this busy time on the farm, all of our barns become “maternity units” full of expectant mothers. Our 140 Aberdeen Angus and South Devon beef cows will give birth at this time of the year and we monitor them around the clock. In the barn next door we are expecting over 2,500 lambs this year from some 1,450 breeding ewes.
Our flock of breeding ewes includes mostly Lleyns plus pedigree Kerry Hills, pedigree Ryelands, pure Texel ewes and a handful of Cotswolds. A sheep’s reproductive cycle is 17 days, so that rams are put out in November for 51 days giving each ewe three chances to become pregnant. The vast majority will conceive their lambs in the first 34 days and have a gestation period of 146 days, so doing the maths, our shepherd Dave and his team will be incredibly busy through the month of April!
All our ewes are scanned so we know whether they are expecting one, two, three or even four lambs. This knowledge not only tells us how many lambs to expect, but importantly, enables us to feed individuals with the best diet needed to produce healthy, high quality lambs. Lambing in April means there will be lush organic pasture for our freshly lambed sheep and their lambs: spring grass is the very best nutritional feed for recovering mothers and growing lambs.
My single biggest responsibility as Senior Farms Manager for Daylesford is to supply our butchers with consistent top quality meat year-round and the breeds we have chosen to farm at Daylesford provide just that. All of our lamb is finished on 100% forage-based diet, which produces wonderfully sweet and succulent meat. Our lambs are reared to the very highest standards and our sheep flock performs at the highest level within British farming.
Join us at the farm for lambing tours on Saturday 9th April 2016