Some time ago we acquired six beautiful black faced Suffolk ewes with the intention of breeding them for meat – mainly for our own consumption, but perhaps with a little to share amongst friends and family. The breeder from whom we purchased them gave us plenty of tips and information about growing lambs. He told us that most ewes only come into their fertile season in warm weather, hence they tend to birth their lambs in winter, some five months after conception.
A short time after the ewes came to the farm we purchased a ram from a fellow hobby farmer. The ram has a proven history of producing offspring … a good start we thought. So the seven lovely Suffolks have been happily eating our grass and competing with the Dexters for hay for about 8 months now. And it’s about 4 months since the end of summer. Seems like the time must be getting close for lambs to appear if they are there! Each week when we visit the farm, we study the ewes … Are they getting fatter? Is that an udder I see forming? Really when did the weather get warm? And is it really almost 5 months yet? We did have a late summer with March being by far the warmest month of the season.
It seems stories abound of lambs being born on cold, wet, windy winter nights. Well we’ve had some of those, and still no lambs… And so we wait and wonder if nature did, in fact, take its course.
And every time we visit the farm I peer over the gate, hoping to spot a little bundle of Suffolk lamb, and every week so far I have been disappointed. The anticipation of a lamb hits me about 3 days before we go each week, so I spend 3 days thinking about what it will be like to see our first lamb, then several days recovering from the disappointment of “not yet”.
Time will tell … and I’m hoping my patience is soon rewarded!