Thanks to the rams breaking into the ewe pasture, we have no idea who is bred and who isn't. Maybe no one. Maybe everyone (doubtful). But we are clueless either way.
I booked the shearer weeks ago for this Saturday, so we could get those heavy wool coats off and take a look at bellies and udders, and get pastures and pens reconfigured for new arrivals, if necessary. Plus, lambing when the ewe is not in full fleece is So. Much. Easier. For us, for the lambs, for the ewes.
But Mother Nature had other ideas.
"You're going to do what with our toasty warm wool coats?!!?"
The temps have not budged much out of the twenties almost all month—and that is the high for the day. The lows are in the single digits. As shearing day drew closer, and spring seemed ever further away, we finally caved. No way we could do it on our own timeline. The ewes would have had the shelter of the barn for the night, but even that seemed scant comfort given the brutal lows. The rams would still be out in a pasture, and though a shed is fine for them at the moment, without their wool, not so much.
Shearing date is now rescheduled for the end of March. At some point in the next few days, we will attempt an udder check and do our best with the results, whatever they may be. The sheep will get to keep what Mother Nature gave them to deal with this cold—truly, they have been barely bothered by it—and the rest of us will cope as best we can.