CORVALLIS - The bleating of newborn lambs will soon fill the Oregon State University Sheep Center, offering visitors a close-up look at the sheep birth process.
This year, 200 ewes at the OSU Department of Animal Sciences center are expected to give birth to single lambs, twins - even triplets, said Thomas Nichols, Sheep Center manager.
The animals don't seem to mind the public viewing process, Nichols said.
"They'll lamb with people standing within three or four feet of them," Nichols said. "They adjust to visitors very easily, and most of these are older ewes and they have been through this process before."
The Sheep Center, located east of 53rd Street and Harrison Boulevard at 7565 N.W. Oak Creek Drive, will be open to the public for free self-guided tours seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting Monday, March 14, and lasting through Saturday, April 2.
Information about visiting the Sheep Center is available online at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/animal-sciences/lambing.htm.
Groups of more than 10 people should make an appointment by calling Helen Chesbrough of the OSU Department of Animal Sciences at 541-737-4854 or by e-mail at Helen.Chesbrough@oregonstate.edu.
Anyone who has traveled abroad should postpone a visit until two weeks after their return to minimize the spread of disease to the animals, Nichols said.
Traditionally hundreds of school groups and other community members travel to the sheep barns each year to watch the lambs and ewes. The process also serves as classroom instruction for OSU animal science students.