To many Icelandic farmers, the lambing season is the most exciting time of the year. Starting in early May, it signals the end of a long winter, rebirth, and brighter days.
There are hundreds of sheep farms all around Iceland, with up to 1,000 sheep each. The lambing season is, therefore, a busy time, requiring the assistance of every inhabitant of the farm, whether young or old. The sheep are cared for and watched day and night until they have birthed.
The Icelandic sheep strain has remained pure ever since the country’s first settlement around 1,100 years ago. It is rich with tradition and an essential element in Iceland’s heritage. And of course, it has always been one of Icelanders’ keys to survival.
Although sheep care hasn’t changed much from the start, technological advancements have started to take place. Each new lamb that survives is labeled so that it can be traced back to its mother in case of separation. Farmers also keep a registry of the number of lambs birthed by each ewe. Usually, they are two – although they can be as many as five. The first lambs born each year earn the distinguished titles Lamb King and Lamb Queen.
True to tradition, the young lambs spend their summers in the unspoiled highlands, grazing freely on grass, berries, and arctic herbs. By doing so, they acquire their exceptional flavor and texture, which is renowned all over the world—deliciousness beyond compare. That way, the cycle of life continues, just as it always has.
To give us extraordinary insight into the lambing season, we’ve asked sheep farmer Pálína Axelsdóttir Njarðvík (@farmlifeiceland) to take over our Instagram (@icelandiclamb) from May 18-24. She will be posting loads of stories and updates, enabling us to witness the birth of new life and all the joy and excitement this remarkable season brings.