Early Lambs off to a Good Start
We have been busy on the farm in the early days of the New Year. Our first lambs arrived on the 4th of January, tucked up inside for the first week of life from the cold, they now are hardy enough to go outside to some fresh grass. Our donkeys who also guard the turkeys from foxes are with them as livestock guardians to keep them safe in the early weeks.
Our first batch of ewes are a Suffock Grey Face * New Zealand Romney cross. The rams we have used are Polled Dorset and Vendeen. We are at the start of building our flock into a Newland Romney ewe flock. Hopefully their strong maternal traits and ability to thrive well on a solely grass based diet will work well with our farming system. It’s our first time to use a Polled Dorset Ram & Vendeen Ram. The Dorset has larger lambs, however the Vendeen should finish quicker – time will tell. the Dorset ability to lamb out of season, is of some interest. A crop of lambs in September/October could be an interesting addition!
We used Livestock Guardian Dogs up to 2 years ago to keep foxes and mink away from our birds. It worked very well, however they are a large dog and very protective of their area and as we live in typical Irish farming village they were fond of wandering off; not the most neighborly farming practice. As the dogs passed away we switched to donkeys and so far so good. Again time will tell, we may look at other options. Livestock Guardian Dogs are excellent at what they do but from my experience you need a very large area to make it work.