CORVALLIS - The 1999 lambs are arriving at a pasture near you, and Oregon State University's Sheep Center will offer a closer look at one of Oregon's first signs of approaching spring.

OSU's 350 ewes began giving birth the last week in January and will continue through mid-March. The center will open to the public during the first week in February. It will remain open during daylight hours every day except Friday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., when classes are being held.

As long as anyone can remember, the public has been invited to watch the lambing season, said Tom Nichols, manager of the OSU Sheep Center.

About 2,000 people annually tour the sheep barns during this time.

Large groups of visitors are asked to call ahead to schedule their visits to avoid crowding. As in years past, orphaned or extra lambs will be sold for about $15 each. Those interested in buying such lambs may call 737-2903 to be placed on a list.

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Tom Nichols, 541-737-2903