The alarm went off.
It is 6:00AM. Despite the strong urge to hit the snooze button, I dragged myself out of bed and shoved on as many clothes as possible.
Because it is time to go scanning.
Now, I am presuming most of you reading this will not be from a farming background and will not know what I mean by ‘scanning’.
In simple terms, scanning is when sheep undergo a pregnancy ultrasound; the process does not hurt the sheep and allows farmers to determine how many lambs each sheep will be having, making management of stock simpler and more efficient.
As scanning often takes places 10-15 weeks after the tup (male sheep) has been introduced to the flock, it usually happens around Jan/Feb time. Hence the layers!
My job for the morning was fairly straight forward: keep the sheep coming!
This involved running around the sheep, shooing them into the race and flapping my arms like a chicken to generate enough movement and noise to get them to move.
Whilst it was a repetitive task, it kept me warm, something my toes, which were starting to feel the frost, were glad about.
All the sheep we gathered for the occasion were scanned within three hours and had fairly successful results; most had twins or triplets.
Their wool collectively was an array of colours, with each marking representing when they are likely to lamb (green = early as that is the colour of the teaser tup) and how many lambs they will be having.
Next we dosed all the sheep, sorted them into the correct colour groups and herded them back into the fields, all in time for breakfast.
We are going to scan another lot tonight, meaning we will have scanned around 800 sheep today.
Yet we still have more sheep to go, and I have a feeling lambing time is going to be a very busy time indeed!