By ROBYN BRISTOW
A woolly mum is the toast of North Canterbury.
The four-tooth Finn ewe produced a mini flock of her own last week, delivering six healthy lambs.
This follows sextuplets the year before, but only five were born alive.
As a hogget, she had produced twins.
Daniel Wheeler, of Broomfield, says the whole family is “doing well”.
However, to give them all a good start in life, three of the lambs were taken from mum after 48 hours, and are now being bottle-fed.
“She is a real mother hen. She was rarely more than a metre away from the lambs,” he says.
“She is a tremendous mother and her lambs are tremendous at being mothered, staying close to mum,” Daniel says.
Daniel pregnancy scans sheep throughout the South Island under the name of Daniel Wheeler Livestock.
He bred the pure Finn ewe, and had scanned her as being in lamb with six lambs.
He has one of the last Finn flocks in the country, with around 400 in total across New Zealand.
“There is only a handful of purebred Finns left in the country, and I have 100 of them” he says.
Native to Finland, the breed is one of several Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds. It is notable for its high incidence of multiple births. It is
common for a Finn ewe to have three to five lambs.
The lambs are often small, but are vigorous at birth and grow well.
In New Zealand, they were used in the 1990s to develop composite breeds of sheep.
“They are very good for lifestyle blocks, as friendly as, and very productive,” he says.