Christopher and Shaun left to pick the lamb markers up from Flores harbour at 5am on Saturday. It was a nice morning and they arrived back at 7:15 am. This years lamb markers were Steven Poole, Chris Poole, Juliet Poole, Macaulay Middleton, Tom Elsby and Marcus Pole-Evans. Also myself, Christopher, Shaun and Tanya. The lamb markers were hungry as although they knew they may be spending the night at North Arm they were not really prepared for it. I had sausages, burgers and salad etc in boxes that they were bringing out for me so they could have used that if they had wanted to. After a quick breakfast of beans, sausages, spaghetti and toast it was time to leave for the first gather. I guess it was about 8 am before we left the house. All the boys except Macaulay went on motorbikes. Tanya took the rover with Juliet and I took the Toyota with myself and Macaulay and portable pens. Tanya had dogs, lamb marking gear and the picnic. The first camp to be lamb marked was the Sandgrass, in this camp, we marked 631 lambs giving us a pen tally of 94%. We actually had 105% on the put out but it is irrelevant because the large pond between Twin Ponds and the Sandgrass has been broken out by what can only have been horrendously heavy seas. This pond has never washed out since we have had the farm and it acts as a boundary between camps. With no water in it, it has allowed sheep to come through from Twin Ponds to the Sandgrass meaning there were more ewes in the Sand grass then originally put out. That is the reason why we have to use the pen tally as the put out is totally inaccurate. We were finished this camp by about 2:30pm. The day was made a bit easier with the aid of shot glasses filled with rum and port the traditional lamb marking tipple, (for those that had the stomach for it) followed bythe odd beer. By 3:00 pm the boys were away on their second gather of the day in Phillips Point. The girls and Macaulay waited at the pen as both camps back onto each other so we were lamb marking in the same pen again. The boys had another super quick gather and 526 lambs later with 101% on the pen and 88% on the put out we were finished for the day. We got back to the house at 8:30pm. It had been a lovely day. Everyone was extremely dirty and extremely tired. Shaun and Christopher then knocked up a quick barbecue and a few more beers were drunk. By 11:30 everyone was in bed. 6:00am arrived too quickly and by 6:50 everyone was again away from the house on the final lamb marking on Speedwell for 2011. Twin Ponds was gathered in record time and despite having 600 ewes put out in it the count of ewes showed there were only 528 left. This was because some of these ewes had moved into the Sandgrass. 502 lambs were marked giving us 84% on the put out and 96% on the pen. Again the 84% on the put out is irrelevant because so many of the ewes had moved camp. The job was done and dusted and we were all back at the house by 12:30pm.
The true lamb marking percentages for Speedwell for 2011 was 1,800 ewes put to the ram, 1659 lambs marked giving us 92% on the put out.
On the pen 1723 ewes came through the pens with 1659 lambs giving a pen tally of 96%.
96 ewes are unaccounted for most of these are missing from Phillips Point. This could be partly attributed to possibly a bad gather, some ewes and lambs have been missed. Part of the loss will be natural death rate. The other possibility is that some of the ewes have went out on reefs and got cut of f by the tide and there by lost. There are definitely long tail lambs still running around, we had at least 12 - 15 lambs escape from the pens by jumping fences. These will be rounded up when the ewes come in for shearing and will then be added to the percentage.
All in all we are happy with the percentage. Although two of the camps were hit by bad weather during the lambing period the fact that they have good shelter has meant the percentage has not been affected too badly.
|Steven Poole 9:00pm Saturday evening trying to finish of the rum and port (failed).|
|The boys putting the Sandgrass ewes and lambs into the pens at the end of the first gather.|
|Beer break (left to right) Shaun May, Tom Elsby, Marcus Pole-Evans, Chris Poole, Juliet Poole, Tanya Ford, in behind, Macaulay Middleton, Chris May, Steven Poole.|