Iceland’s sheep farmers are working day and night to help their ewes give birth. The lambing season spans across five weeks from late April into early June – and some farmers say they can’t wait for it to be over. While most ewes can give birth without assistance, some do need a helping hand from their caretakers.
RÚV reporters visited Halldórsstaðir farm in North Iceland, where 150 lambs have been born in just under a week. The farm has 700 sheep and they are expected to give birth to around 1,000 lambs this season (twins are fairly common). Farmer Ragnar Jónsson says that at the farm, people only step in to help if something is going wrong. “If people always help then the ewe won’t be as strong the next time she gives birth.” Ewes and their newborn lambs are moved to special “nursery” pens where they can recover from their efforts.
During the lambing season, farmers spend most of their waking hours in the sheep shed to make sure someone is always available to step in if ewes need some assistance. Guðbjörn Elfarsson, another of the farmers at Halldórsstaðir, says he even eats dinner in the sheep shed these days. Guðbjörn told reporters he’s not a fan of this time of year and looks forward to getting a good, long sleep when it’s all over.