Ewe must be joking - lambs this time of year?

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 02/04/2014
Paul Simons’ Arapawa mongrel ewe
ANDY JACKSON/ Fairfax NZ
WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?: Paul Simons’ Arapawa mongrel ewe has given birth to twin lambs six months out of season and just five months after her last lamb.

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Until a week ago Paul Simons' Arapawa mongrel ewes never gave him much cause to ponder the wonder of life.

But then one of them gave birth to twin lambs completely out of season and everything changed for the Inglewood man.

"They have all been with the ram the whole year but they have never had lambs at this time of year," he said.

"It's unusual. I've never heard of it."

He had no idea how the ewe was able to reproduce twice in one season though his small flock's shearer, who had also never heard of the lambing double, theorised it could have been because the ewe was in such a good condition.

Usually sheep give birth once a year, typically in spring after becoming pregnant in autumn.

Simons' three-year-old ewe was no exception and gave birth to a single lamb in August. About two months later the lamb was weaned off her and the ewe must have become pregnant almost immediately.

"I didn't realise until last week when her teats began swelling," he said.

Tarata sheep and beef farmer Bryan Hocken confirmed it was highly unexpected for a sheep to give birth twice in one year.

His farming mate from Taupo, who he was having a cuppa with, concurred it was not something that happened every day.

However Hocken dismissed the idea the out of season birth was a further sign of global climate change and recommended it would be better if the Taranaki Daily News did not connect those two dots. "It's nothing to do with global warming. It's rare, but it's no big deal," he said.

However, the farmer said the Tarata sheep dog trials were a big deal and, coincidentally, they were on this weekend.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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