The day of scanning arrived, and having had very hard frosts since before Christmas, which is unusual for us, it rained and turned the area round my sheds to mud! Typical. Five crofters were having their sheep scanned which added up to approximately 400 head - very messy! Donald who has been doing our scanning for many years arrives for breakfast, then on with the business. Each owners' flock is brought seperately into the holding pens, then herded one by one into a raised crate. Donald sits in an old car seat alongside, with his screen, and rolls a scope along the ewe's stomach. It is exactly the same as the procedure for a pregnant woman except not in such comfortable surroundings! The screen shows whether the ewe is carrying 1,2,3 or maybe more or perhaps nothing at all, and the owner markes them accordingly with a coloured spray.
Amazingly, there were a lot of twins this year, even triplets, despite the harsh weather. However we had all stepped up the feeding which probably helped. Hopefully a good return of lambs will pay for that. Approximately one and a half hours later we had finished, and after hosing down the equipment Donald was off to another local venue.
We now hope for a milder period so that we can get fertilizer onto the fields to encourage the grass to grow. Lambing starts for most of us mid-April, although a few start earlier to get their lambs well-grown for the local agricultural shows. All I want is good healthy lambs, and if all goes well I should get 21 lambs from 11 ewes.
One of my ewes is having triplets, although Donald said "there could be quins". I hope he was joking!! Will let you know in May.