Saturday, March 25, 2023
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No sleep for ewe: 11 lambs born to one Sask. farmer during weekend blizzard

While a blizzard made its way through southern Saskatchewan over the weekend, most people were nestled inside their homes to stay warm.

It was a very different situation for one Saskatchewan farmer.

“Whenever there is a big storm, expect sheep to start dropping,” said Josef Buttigieg.

And drop they did. Eleven sheep were born at his farm during the Saskatchewan snowstorm Saturday night.

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Two sets of twins, two sets of triplets and a solo sheep were all born within a number of hours at Fenek Farms.

“I don’t think I will forget that night,” Buttigieg said as he recalled the events of Saturday evening. “When you are walking out in that storm, you question your life choices. Like what the heck am I doing out here? It is 3 a.m., it’s a blizzard and it’s -25.”

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Buttigieg said after going in and out of the storm while working in the barn, he decided to just take a little nap in the barn.

But it wasn’t an alarm clock that woke him up.

Sheep are just one of the many animals Josef Buttigieg and his family raise on their farm.

Brody Ratcliffe / Global News

“Waking up, you smell her baby and she’s licking you on the face, type of thing, and (you’re) getting your morning kiss from a sheep,” Buttigieg said. “I think over the weekend between Friday to Sunday, I probably had a collective total of four hours of sleep.”

He said over the last five years of breeding sheep, many of them have been born during a Saskatchewan storm, but this time around it felt different.

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“Saturday night was one of the craziest nights. If it’s not the craziest, it is the second, just because of the intensity of the storm and everything happening all at once for us.”

And Buttigieg doesn’t expect it to slow down anytime soon.

“Of our 140 sheep, we have about 120 that are pregnant and they’re about to give birth and of those only 15 have given birth so far,” Buttigieg said.

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Buttigieg lived in Toronto before moving to Saskatchewan with no prior background in farming. He began raising some animals on the farm as a hobby, but it has turned into something entirely different.

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“I’m trying to educate the public in terms of knowing where your food comes from, how it’s raised and why we do certain things,” Buttigieg said.

From turkeys and ducks to sheep and alpacas, the farm has become a family affair.

And with 11 more sheep now on the farm, with no thanks to a Saskatchewan blizzard, Buttigieg said he is nothing but excited for the future.

Click to play video: 'How one Sask. farmer grows tropical fruits in the middle of winter'

How one Sask. farmer grows tropical fruits in the middle of winter

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