If you are out for a walk in Hatfield or N. Mymms, where we keep our sheep in the spring you might well come across our in lamb ewes. They have got lots of different markings on them, here is what they mean:
On their left hand sides will be a coloured number. Some of the numbers are difficult to read, writing neatly on a moving sheep is quite tricky! We number them so we can recognize individual animals if we need to come back and check one again later. We use different colours so that we can use the same number several times and still differentiate them, otherwise the numbers would end up really long!
Also on their left sides is a selection of dots.
A blue dot means that they are carrying a singe lamb.
No dot means they are carrying twins.
Multiple red dots means they are carrying more than twins - triplets or quadruplets.
A single red dot means they are barren.
We have organised them into different fields depending on what lambs they are carrying, so you will likely find an entire field of blue dots. There is a few naughty escapees!
On their bums will be a faint red or green colouring. This is from tupping. When we put the rams (tups) out with the ewes we put a harness on them with a coloured crayon in it. At the start of tupping it is green and then mid way through we swap it for a red one. This is so we know which ewes will give birth in the first half and which will give birth in the second half of lambing.
So this ewe, green 69, will have a single lamb in the first half of lambing.
See if you can identify when and how many lambs are due next time you pass by!