We decided to let them have full run of the big field. We fixed the fence and the gates and now they can wander down to the lake, walk up to the cabin, go over and feed in the neighbour's field, sit in the shade behind the sauna... Hopefully they won't be so tempted to eat the bark on the birch trees!
They tend to keep together: sometimes it is Elisa who leads the way and sometimes it's Minttu but Oona and Onerva are never far behind and then the lambs follow.
We got some more oats from Ronny and mixed them up a nice cocktail of grains and minerals. They also use the salt lick quite a lot, licking it but also nibbling at it!
She (#293) managed to get under the fence again but couldn't get back this time so we helped her out.
Today we are going to fix the fence around the big field so it won't matter if they go walkabouts, they won't get far.
The older sheep: Elisa, Oona and Onerva and the two older lambs (one white, one brown) have a real liking for birch bark probably because it tastes nice, maybe it's sweet or rich in minerals. The flock has full run of the curly birch plantation and, although we wrapped about 50-60 birch trunks with plastic tubing, they are managing to find the unprotected trees and are systematically pulling away the bark in strips. Argh. It's a huge job to wrap all the trees but I think we will have to do it.
And at least one of the young ewes has worked out how to get under the fence. Fortunately she also managed to find a way back in when she realised she was all alone on the Other Side.
Today - 16th June - Stefan and Thomas fixed the fence around the curly birch wood and let the sheep into the bigger area. Apparently Minttu was ecstatic, happy-happy... She probably remembers where there is fresh willow to nibble on. Pics to follow.
The two girls spent the winter together and now they are best friends. Minttu is still happy to follow us around rather than stay with the flock. I think she will always be a "pet". Interestingly, Minttu seems to be the dominant ewe in the flock rather than Elisa.
They all seem very happy. I've wandered into the field a few times today to see how they are doing. Minttu always comes over to say hello (she knows the routine, stale bread in my pockets) but the young lambs are still a bit skittish.
We have a bit of a problem with the bigger field. It is full of buttercups and they are toxic for sheep. Normally the sheep would just leave them as the taste is so bitter. So we have decided to mow them down - they will dry quickly (it is till very windy here) and then they are no longer toxic. Mowing the field will also encourage the grass to grow.
Here is a picture of one of the new lambs (b. August 2014) next to a picture of Minttu. They were both shorn at about the same time. one with electric shears and the other the old-fashioned way. Spot the difference. Minttu still has at least 6 cm of fleece on her back!
Now Pojo feels like home again. The sheep have arrived!
We have two ewes from 2008/9 - Oona and Onerva - who would have been at the Ahomaan farm at the same time as Elisa. It was astonishing to see Elisa immediately take interest in the new arrivals and especially the two older ewes. I'm convinced she recognised them!
Elisa is the rather scruffy ewe on the left (hand sheared) and Oona is on the right (mechanical shear, same week!).
So we have Elisa, Minttu (who is as friendly and affectionate as last year, but a bit bigger), Oona and Onerva and then two from last August (one white, one brown) and 18 from this spring, born between 28.2.2015 and 4.4.2015. So, 24 in all.
We will keep them in a small space for a few days until they are accustomed to their new surroundings and the lush, fresh grass, and then we'll let them into the big field.