The Soay lamb gender lottery revisited

It’s been five years since I agonized over, and then wrote about, the nail-biting wait each spring to see whether our pregnant ewes offer up an acceptable percentage of ewe lambs. By now even the charts in the old post are unreadable, for which I apologize.

Rather than trying to figure out how the 2020 edition of WordPress wants me to make charts so I can fix the old one, it seems easier to post an entirely new graph. This one includes 15 years’ worth of data, updated through the lambs we have so far this year.

As you can see, even with several hundred data points, we haven’t reached the elusive but much-vaunted 50/50 split that exists in theory out there somewhere. We are, however, a lot closer than I would have thought, perhaps because I tend to remember only the awful years (2017 comes to mind) when it felt like we could get nothing but rams.

Speaking of which, so far this lambing year we have five ram lambs and no ewes. Gulp. I hope to be able to update this graph with something in the ewe column by the time lambing ends in a couple of weeks.

For now…

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