Tupping Time at The Lost Gardens of Heligan
We have a small flock of ewes that consists of rare breed Devon and Cornwall Longwools, Ryelands, Kerry Hills, Jacobs and a Herdwick here at Heligan.
We have our two older resident rams, Brom (a Longwool) and Jason (a Kerry Hill), who are experienced in their jobs, along with new Longwool ram ,Thomas, in his first year of breeding, bringing a new bloodline into our flock. We are pleased to have been able to loan a Ryeland ram named Ted from the Milltown Ryelands and he will be meeting our Ryeland ewes to take on the role of increasing our own gorgeous teddy bear flock!
Our rams will once again be raddled throughout the tupping period, either with a harness that has a coloured wax block or with chest paint. It allows us to identify which ewes he has visited by seeing the paint transferred on to their backs and fleeces.
Every 10 days we will change the colour of the paint and this then over time enables us to work out when each ewe is due to lamb. We can work out their due dates based on the colour of paint on their fleece at the end of tupping.
Mother Nature is very clever and allows the ram to know when he has successfully made his ewe pregnant. He will then know not to visit her again and cover her with any further paint! A sheep pregnancy is usually around 147 days (approximately 5 months), so by the end of March we should have new lambs arriving on the farm.
In early January we will bring all our ewes into our Barn to have them scanned for confirmation of their pregnancies and of how many lambs they are due. Longwools commonly have one or two lambs at a time, but the Kerry Hills and Jacobs can often have more!
How many litters of triplets will we be expecting this time? This is an exciting event and we look forward to welcoming our visitors to share this experience as we confirm the first of our 2020 Spring arrivals.