- Written by Maria McDonald
Market Time for the Lambs
So the time of year rolled around again in which the lambs go to market. It’s kind of a nice transition time; the time when the monotone winter chores kinda disappear, leaving a slight lull in the work before the summer work hits in full strength.
At this time the lambs that were born last June have reached the right weight, which is between 100 and 110 lbs. If you know a little about sheep, you might wonder why it takes our lambs so long to reach that weight, since a lot of lambs gain that much in as little as 3 months. Well, it’s because we grow our lambs slower on purpose. We believe that the lambs end up being healthier and also it costs us less to feed them a more natural diet, which is more hay and no cereal grains.
All fall and winter the lambs (males and females mixed) spend leisurely days. Food and water is always at hand. Plenty of bedding everywhere. Nothing is too demanding. Just the right environment to grow up in! Sometime in January we introduce a few small rams to the group so they can check out the new girls and do their thing (all the females that get bred will be kept as replacements for our main flock).
And then as market time approaches we sort through all the lambs. The males will go to market and the females will be kept for now until we can see which ones will have lambs. All the lambs to be sold get tagged with a registered tag (that’s the law in Canada). And then it’s time to wait for the truck!
When the day came for the truck to arrive, all the neighbors seem to gather of their own accord. Everyone wants to be a part of the loading! And a big loading it is! Especially since we discovered when the truck pulled in, that there was no ramp into the fourth level and so 75 lambs had to be manually lifted/pulled/pushed up into the fourth level! Pew! What a job! But it gets done and off the truck goes! Paycheque for another year!