Bunnaloo farmers Neil and Peter Blenkiron were surprised to see six lambs born to one of their Australian Finnsheep ewes last month.By Jess Craig
Bunnaloo farmers Neil and Peter Blenkiron are used to their ewes having multiple births.
The father-and-son team farm Australian Finnsheep, a relatively new breed renowned for birthing more than one lamb.
But when Neil went out to check his lambing ewes last month, he was surprised to see six newborn lambs pop their heads above the grass.
Neil initially thought the other mothers had wandered off, but when he got the mum-of-six moving, all six lambs followed her.
‘‘I was completely amazed,’’ Neil said.
‘‘They’re a fertile breed, and the mum is one of six herself, but it was still very surprising.’’
The six lambs
The hungry sextuplets are also having their diet supplemented by Neil’s son Peter, who feeds them regularly with a bottle.
‘‘I’m like their second mum,’’ Peter laughed.
‘‘From the day they were born, I’ve been helping their mum feed them, so they know me.
‘‘She’s doing very well with them. She’s still very protective and she looks after them all.
‘‘We’ve had to supplement her feed as well so she can feed the lambs, but there’s no literature on how to care for a mother of multiple births over two, so we’re just seeing what works.’’
The Blenkiron’s Bunnaloo stud, Penesh Finnsheep, is the largest in Australia.
Peter is the Australian Finnsheep Breeders Association Inc president, while Neil is the treasurer.
The Finnsheep is a breed of northern European origin.
The Blenkirons have a strong flock of purebred Australian Finnsheep, with the breed having a distinctive short tail.
‘‘The short tail is such a benefit, it means you don’t have to go out and dock or do any mulesing,’’ Peter said.
‘‘They’re great mothers too, very fertile. We’ve had 180 lambs out of 80 ewes this year.’’
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