Reg our Shepherd joined Farmer Jake and his team in June 2014. He had a busy summer looking after all the tups, ewes and lambs doing daily health checks and routine treatments such as drenching (worming), vaccinating, and preventing fly strike.
At the end of July all the lambs were weaned and since then been on grass or turnips. As they all grow at slightly different speeds, they get split into weight groups, and when ready to go to be killed are sent off in batches. In August, September and October our ewes take a well-earned rest from being mummies and are all turned out to grass and grouped according to their body condition so that those requiring more attention are on better grass then those that are fatter. In September, George joined the farms team and most of his time is spent with Reg and the sheep.
In November things start to hot up, with the tups (Rams) finally getting to meet their ladies and spending 5 weeks in their company. The tups came out mid-December and went back out to grass to put their feet up and get some weight back on before they do it all again later this year.
During January and February the ewes are put out onto cover crops. These are mixtures of different plant species aimed at protecting the soil surface, increasing plant material and restructuring the soil. They finish off grazing turnips before being housed at Park Farm before lambing starts. During this period, apart from being checked thoroughly, given any vaccinations and supplements, the ewes are scanned so we know how many lambs they are carrying. They are then split into groups and fed accordingly. At the end of February we shear all the ewes so that they can utilise their feed better and they don’t expend energy keeping cool in a shed.
As you can see, being a Shepherd is an all year round job, not just lambing which is by far the most exciting time. We are very much looking forward to telling you more and answering any questions you may have – so don’t delay, put the 19th April in you diary and come and meet Farmer Jake, Reg and the team at Overbury Farms.