Jan 1, 2010

Lambing on Nash Island

Every year we wait excitedly to see this year’s lambs and get the first feel of their new fleeces. For three to four weeks in the spring, new lambs are born on the Island, and we spend time out there with the shepherds to help the flock with their new arrivals. Often the ewes have no trouble delivering their new babies, so most of Lambing involves roaming around the island, watching the sheep from afar. If a ewe looks troubled or in distress, we do a stake-out and keep an eye on her. Only a very few end up needing medical attention or help delivering.

When we come out to the island for shearing, the lambs are sorted out and it’s always amazing to see how much they’ve grown in a few weeks time. A number of girl babies with the very best fleeces are selected to stay on the island and become the next generation of the flock. A few bucks (boy babies) may be kept for breeding, but most are destined for fine restaurants in New York City and the Southwest.

After all the lambs have been wormed and had their tails docked during shearing, they’re set free to roam around the island again. Most stay in a little group on the nearby hillside, to watch and wait for the ewes. As the day goes on, some venture over to see what all the activity is about, but mostly (like all kids) they’re interested in feeding time. Their little bleats sound so much like the persistent whine of, “Mom. MOM. MOM!”, it’s hard not to laugh at how cute they are as they wait for Mom to rejoin them.