Adventure at Topsy Farms on Amherst Island
Our neighbours and friends had quite an adventure at Topsy Farms recently.
We have about 1000 ewes and over 1200 lambs now after lambing (with one or two waddling pregnant ewes still holding back). So many mouths require lots of food, and we were running out of pasture on the home farm.
Moving the mature girls with their lambs through the woods to fresh pasture was easy. They just know what they are doing.
However, herding 600 one- and two-year old ewes plus about 750 new lambs presented a challenge, creating an adventure at Topsy Farms.
We had to move them more than a kilometer, down our gravel road past flower beds, lanes, enticing bush and other lamb traps to our next quality pasture.
We sent out an appeal to those householders (keep the dogs in, bring all the visitors out) a family new to the Island, and a few other Island friends. 38 adults and a pack of kids joined us for a brief pep talk and to be assigned yards and flower beds to protect. Several people were chosen to walk behind, carrying 8 ft. burlap wool bags, creating a ‘wall’ to encourage forward momentum and with fleet runners at both sides to turn back escapees.
Ewes want to move forward, seeking fresh grass. Lambs want to move backwards to where they last saw mama. It can be a tough combination.
Our farmers erected temporary fences wherever they could along the route but everyone from a babe in arms to a septuagenarian visitor jogged along, reinforced by our ATVs, to keep the pack moving.
One group of over 200 mavericks managed to outmanoeuvre everyone and head towards home. It was an adventure at Topsy Farms to head ‘em off at the pass. The photo (left) shows most sheep and lambs headed to the left; with a ewe and lamb heading right. People are heading in both directions. About 200 more of the pack followed that ewe.
Our desire always is to produce high quality wool products and meat. Our customers value our wool products year round (available here) and the wonderful quality of lamb and yearling. The most important factor in achieving that goal is to provide good pasture for happy healthy animals protected by guardian dogs.
Sometimes it can be an adventure to get there.