A Carmarthenshire sheep farm is concentrating lambing in a single flock after investing £65,000 in new housing.

Ben Anthony and Diana Fairclough wanted to house all the ewes from their indoor lambing flock at the same time but their existing building only had capacity to hold 300 ewes.

A shed capable of holding 600 ewes provided the solution.

“It gives us security, somewhere to house the sheep if the weather turns,’’ says Ben.

The flock is mostly Aberfield x Tregaron Welsh, with ewe lambs bought from a single source as replacements.

The new facility at Frowen, Login, was based on their existing lambing shed but the design was improved.

“There was nothing wrong with the old shed in terms of design but it only had 25 feet of feeding space – we have more than doubled that by having open sides,’’ says Diana.

It has been build 20 feet closer to other housing than the original shed, to make more use of that housing for individual pens at lambing.

“The old shed had no direct access to that housing, you had to walk the ewes and lambs around the front of it to get to that housing, but access from the new shed is directly opposite,’’ Ben explains.

“We have fitted gates in the passageway that runs between the two sheds so it is much easier to move animals from one to the other.’’

The 11-bay clear span building is 165 feet by 68 feet and 12 feet to the roof eaves with six foot overhangs and incorporates a 14-foot wide central passageway.

The yard is in a sheltered position so it allowed for the shed to be open sided.

There are 10 pens with accommodation in each for 60 ewes and also a one bay pen for orphan lambs and another for use as a storage area.

The shed allows the ewes to be fed a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) which has brought many benefits; the ewes are eating 25% more silage with less concentrates, they are content and the shed is always quiet.

Having feed barriers on two sides of each pen doubles the feeding area.

“We now have 60 foot of feeding space for every pen instead of the 25 foot we had in the old shed; the open-sided design allowed for this,’’ says Diana.

“By having additional space there is less competition at the feed barrier. Bullying was more of a problem when we were feeding concentrates but there is very little of this now the ewes always have TMR in front of them.’’

The shed has allowed the couple to run a more efficient system which means they can target labour and feed at the correct times.

“We now dedicate an entire eight weeks to lambing,’’ says Ben.

“In the old system when lambing was spread over three months there was the temptation to go off doing other jobs like spreading fertiliser when there was a lull in lambing.

“We are now flat out during lambing so there is no time to be looking for other jobs!’’