With the flock growing the sheds were no longer going to be big enough for lambing and we also needed a place to store equipment and winter feed, so 2019 saw us invest in a huge agricultural polytunnel that should give us plenty of space for a good while yet.
As our tup isn't related to the first five ewe lambs born in 2018 we retained him for another year and he went to all our 18 ewes ready for 2020.
This year was our biggest challenge yet - physically, mentally and emotionally - but the new polytunnel was a great success, keeping us sheltered from the wind and rain throughout. Being further from the house meant taking turns to spend the night down there catching an hour or two's sleep at a time in between checks.
We had our first lambing losses, first time needing to stomach tube a lamb, first case of hypothermia, first case of pneumonia, and first need to dry off a ewe that had lost her lambs. All in the space of a couple of days. We had two and even three ewes lambing simultaneously at times and many of them seemed to choose late at night to give birth.
Big Boy once again did us proud, getting all 18 ewes in lamb and we finished with 26 thriving youngsters (17 ewes and 9 tups) out in the field by early May.
Isabelle with her twin lambs Clematis and Campion
One of our home bred ewes, Artemis, with her first lamb Cloudberry
By autumn 2020 the four gimmers born in 2019 will be coming into the lambing group. Since they were fathered by Big Boy we had to look for some new blood to avoid in breeding. We were lucky enough to find a lovely new shearling tup in Mullach Viking and he quickly made friends with several of the wethers. Big Boy is staying with us as well.
Tupping didn't quite go to plan when Big Boy spent a morning ramming a gate so hard he bent the metal tubes and rattled the latch loose, which let him and all the other boys into the field with the ewes. This put paid to our intention to sponge the flock again and after a hasty redrawing of plans we let him and Viking get on with things as clearly they and the ewes were in the mood. The countdown is on for lambing 2021.