Rawlinshaw Farm|Zwartble and Blue Texel Sheep|DIY Livery
Rawlinshaw Farm, Austwick, 
In the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park
It is now 10-12 weeks since the tups were released - It's time to see if the ewes are pregnant!
Pregnancy in sheep is a delicate, hopeful and  wonderful time. Their gestation lasts between 142 and 152 days. Here at Rawlinshaw, we have found that our Zwartble ewes seem to have a slightly shorter pregnancy than our Texel ewes. 
During the 1st trimester, we keep the sheep out at grazing without moving them around too much so as to limit any stress. After this, we bring them back down to the farm to determine who is pregnant and who is not.
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    We go to gather the ewes
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    Spot intrigued to know what is happening
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    The walk home
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    Our little shepherd
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  2. sheep, ewe, pregnancy, scanning,
    Scan picture
Each individual ewe comes into the scanning crate and is held in position to allow the scanner head to be placed on her tummy just like scanning people for pregnancy. The technician, in this case, Robert Garth, moves the scanner head so that he is able to asses if she is pregnant. At this stage of pregnancy,  the head and spine of the foetus is generally quite obvious.
This just takes seconds. The farmer is charged per ewe, so the quicker and more efficiently individuals are scanned, the better for the technician, which means with experience,  hundreds of ewes can be scanned each day.
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    The scanning "box"
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    Ewe being Scanned
She is then marked according to how many lambs she is carrying. A purple spot is used to identify what each ewe is carrying. A spot on the shoulder means a single, no spot means twins, a spot on the bottom means triplets and 2 spots on the bottom mean quads. A line down the back means the ewe is not pregnant. We record what each ewe is carrying and then we take them back to the field. 
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    Recording who is carrying what
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    The ewes back in the field
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    Scanning Results
140%, not bad for only running with the rams for 2 weeks/one cycle. We have some triplets too!

Now we wait for lambing time!