I mentioned a month or so ago that we were seeing a lot of pregnant sheep as it was getting close to lambing season. And now the time is here! Driving around New Zealand this time of year is a treat because the paddocks are full lambs of various shapes and sizes – some lazing about on the grass and others chasing each other around in circles. You see lots of twins and just about every ewe has a lamb close by. If you stop to listen you can hear them calling to each other and it gets a bit loud with their bleating.
In June 2015, New Zealand had about 4.6 million people and 29.5 million sheep – so about 6 per person. And millions of sheep means literally millions of lambs every year. Many of them will be sold or killed for meat, lamb is a very popular menu item here for obvious reasons. But for now, I think even the farmers enjoy their energy and youth.
Most lambs have their tails removed (called docking) at a certain age. There are ways to do it where it doesn’t really hurt the animal and it improves their health because it reduces the likelihood that they will get fly strike – wool maggots that can kill the sheep. You won’t find them in the stores (at least none that I know of), but apparently lamb tails are a special treat for some Kiwis. My partner’s nephew posted on Facebook a few weeks ago about how ‘yummy’ they are. During docking season, it is common to give the lamb tails to the dockers who then cook them as a special treat. There’s a great blog about how they do it here. Our nephew says its an acquired taste :-).
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