I thought it would be fun to post a photo from each month of this year to highlight and remember all that I've accomplished this year on the farm. It was difficult to choose just one photo for each month. From the most lambs we have ever had, to grazing our newly seeded pasture, to the release of my first farm yarn- 2019 has been a great year for our little flock! To keep up to date with my happenings throughout the year, follow me on Instagram or Facebook: @OrchardViewLincolns.
Lambing began on January 9th and began several months of excitement.
This photo is obviously not of my farm, but of a sheep on its way to market in Kenya. I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya in February and saw LOTS of sheep!
We ended the season with 40 lambs- the most ever!
Lambs on spring pasture.
At the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, I had the opportunity to have my sheep judged by Ian and Louise of the Risby Flock of Lincolns in the UK. Such an honor and so great to have them here in the US!
A VERY wet May and June led to a very lush pasture. It was exciting to see my pasture in full production after seeding last summer.
One of my yearling ewes enjoy a summer evening on pasture.
Breeding season was in full swing in August.
Beautiful fleeces and a pasture full of white clover.
Here is a #nofilter photo for you! There were so many gorgeous sunsets this October. It was hard to choose just one photo.
Shearing day in November resulted in some of the highest yielding and highest quality fleeces we have ever had.
December means time to stay feeding hay again. Pregnant ewes are preparing for another lambing season.
,The past couple weeks have been filled with pregnancy announcements for both family and friends of mine and Orchard View Farm has an announcement of our own: we will be expecting around 40 lambs starting in January 2020!
Yesterday, we had Dr. Andrew from Attica Veterinary Services come to ultrasound my ewes. Last year was the first year we did this and it was very helpful to know which ewes were confirmed pregnant and how many lambs each ewe was expecting. We were even able to save at least one lamb when we realized the ewe had only birthed one, but the ultrasound said she had two.
Ultrasounding the sheep is similar to ultrasounding humans. The probe lays against the ewe's belly and the vet then can see the images through a headpiece. They look for images of a head and spine and can often determine the age of the fetus. The vet checks both sides of the ewe to determine whether there are twins. While telling the gender of the lambs is possible, it is difficult with the lamb moving around and it must be positioned correctly. The best time for ultrasounding ewes is 45-90 days of gestation.
This year, it appears that we have a 100% conception rate! We will be expecting around 40 lambs with only a few singles and a possible set of triplets (which are more difficult to tell via the ultrasound). Most of the ewes are around 100 days of gestation. A sheep's gestation period is approximately 148 days, meaning that we will be having a very busy few weeks at the end of January.
Now that we have confirmed pregnancies that are a month from lambing, it's time to start prepping the barn, our supplies, and ourselves!
If all goes as planned, lambs will be ready to be sold and go to their new home beginning in May so contact me if you are interested in lambs for spring 2020.
Emmaline Long, main owner of Orchard View Farm, has a passion for Lincoln sheep and loves educating others about her breed and farm, She currently serves as the Vice President of the National Lincoln Breeders Association.