Iceland’s Sheep Celebrate Mating Season Skip to content

Iceland’s Sheep Celebrate Mating Season

Although approximately 30,000 ewes will be inseminated at centers in south and west Iceland this mating season there are still a few blæsma ewes—as is said about those ready for mating—that get visits from rams and keep it natural.


Rams by lake Mývatn in northeast Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The ram Flóki from the county Suður-Þingeyjarsýsla in northeast Iceland was one of the chosen ones and got to pay blæsma ewes a visit last week while others stood by green-eyed and watched, Morgunblaðið reports.

Meanwhile employees at insemination centers are busy, although inseminations were off to a slow start this year.

“It was as if people were careful about timing the lambing season too early after a cold spring. But then there was a sudden increase and everything’s up and running. The peak was last weekend and inseminations will be carried out until December 21,” said Árni Bragason at the agriculture association Búnaðarsamband Vesturlands.

Árni explained that insemination is good for breeding purposes, to acquire new and better qualities for the Icelandic sheep stock. Not only are farmers looking at good meat qualities in rams but also whether the ewes they father end up being fertile and good at milking.

The most popular rams at insemination centers this year are Hergill, Gosi, Grábotni and Borði. “Grábotni is very good all-round and we have a good experience with it, both in terms of meat qualities and as a father of ewes,” Árni said of one of the star rams.

Popular annual competitions are held in the late summer in Hólmavík, the West Fjords, on the evaluation of rams, so-called ram groping contests.

Click here to read about the winner of year’s contest.


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