Tuesday, December 5, 2023

11 lambs in four years, no trouble

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One lamb first time up in 2016 then triplets, triplets and quadruplets. That’s the lambing record of Neville Moorhead’s bonny Southdown stud ewe.
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Eleven lambs in four years and all healthy survivors.

The ewe, answering to Quaddie since her latest effort, has fed all the lambs herself, without milk supplements.

“She just outstanding,” Frances Donald, who helps out at Holly Farm in Southbridge, said.

“She’s very placid and that’s why the lambs are doing so well.” 

They’re all pretty even in their growth rates.

Donald was on early morning lambing duty on August 22, seeing the first two lambs just born at 4.30am when she entered the shed. A third lamb followed soon after, which required a bit of work from her, and that looked like the last one. But when Frances heard some commotion about mid-morning she went back to see the fourth and final lamb born.

For the first three days she and partner Colin Neal had to set the lambs up for drinking from mum and for the first few nights she had to be watched in case she rolled over the lambs but after that they were on their own in the paddock. 

Four lambs don’t make for an easy photograph in a small Canterbury A&P Showgrounds pen but Moorhead was delighted with them and his ewe, entered in the own-breed and all-breed super ewe competitions at the New Zealand Agricultural Show.

He had a show champion Southdown ram for three years in a row around 2007, first as hogget ram then two years as the open winner. 

Through an AI programme in March these four are his offspring and Moorhead is pleased to keep the line going.

The four will have breeding futures. He will sell two of the ram lambs and keep the other ram lamb and the ewe lamb.

Moorhead has a few other ewes with excellent multi-lamb records but Quaddie is one of his best.

His father started the Southdown Stud in 1935 and added a Corriedale Stud in 1957. Moorhead, now nearly 80, runs them both but says there’s not a great demand for Corriedale rams now because of the low wool values.

Southdowns are a good breed to be in because they are early maturing with a good carcase and work well across other breeds. 

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