“Ewe” Should Definitely Read This!

Kathryn Wilkinson ‘20
EE Science and Tech Editor

2019’s newly bred ewe feeding.

As Spring approaches, students enrolled in the Agriscience program know that lambing season is on its way. Each year, the ewes, or female sheep on the farm, are bred in hopes of having adorable lambs on the farm come springtime.

This year at Agriscience, eleven ewes were bred and after 145 to 150 days (about five months), the typical gestation period for a sheep, lambing season had officially started. For all Agriscience students this a particularly exciting time, but for those upperclassmen enrolled in the animal science major, the experience is quite hands on. They not only assist in the birthing process if needed, but they also help in take care of the lambs in the early stages of their life and make sure that all of the ewes remain healthy and well cared for.
Sheep are referred to as seasonally polyestrous and short day breeders. This means that these animals go into heat, or exhibit estrus, when the length of the day begins to decrease. Therefore, breeding the ewes typically occurs October through November. They go into heat every sixteen to seventeen days and remain this way until bred, or return to anestrus.

This year the farm has seen a record number of births, sixteen in total as of thus far. For the ewes, having singles or twins is most common. There were twice as many ewes born compared to rams. The lambs also came in all shapes and sizes, with ewes having sheep from nine to seventeen pounds!

This year was also marked by a record number of shropshires being born on the farm. Shropshires are a medium sized breed of sheep that are known for producing large amounts of wool and being incredibly gentle in disposition, making them perfect for the farm at Agriscience.

Samantha Yankocy, a senior enrolled in animal science remarked, “Five shropshire ewes and one ram were born this year, which is great because we keep the shropshires for breeding and showing. The number of shropshire ewes on the farm literally doubled!”

The enthusiasm displayed by the students at Agriscience at this time is incredible. Lambing season give students a hands on and once in a lifetime experience. Ewe won’t believe how cute these lambs are!

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