We have had our best ever year in lambing. No disasters, no lost sheep or orphan lambs, just one little rejected lamb, named Ebony, who is now thriving out in the fields with many of our holiday Farm Helpers keen to give her daily bottles of milk.
Having just one ewe left to lamb I was beginning to worry; she was looking huge and fully bagged up with milk but with nothing more to suggest she was due to give birth. We were keeping a daily watch on her every morning and evening to look for any signs of distress, since sheep are renowned for hiding any pain until it is all too late. I really thought I was going to need to dig out some rubber gloves and ruin her dignity with a poke round to help out. My fear was that the lamb may be breached or have died without her body yet responding; however each morning she just looked larger but still in good health.
Sunday the 26th April, just when we thought we might have a speedy feed run due to the drizzle and the triplets who were excited for their birthday party here straight afterwards, the ewe decided this was the morning to give birth! Nick had taken his usual early morning tour of the farm to check there were no problems ahead of the guests when he spotted her lying down with not one, not two but three little lambs all lying beside her! They were all alive but wet and looking weak as she hadn’t given birth in the shelter, instead choosing the furthest corner of the field in the rain.
A quick chat back at the house and we decided that I would do the morning welcome by the tractor & trailer in the car park while Nick took another tractor and his DIY trailer up and parked it next to the triplets ready to move them.
Back at the car park there was great excitement as I explained we had a surprise for everyone which had caused farmer Nick to be a few minutes late. In no time we were off on our daily adventure. The Pigs, ducks and chickens are always the first stop and they were all alerted to the sound of the tractor while Ebony made it quite clear she was more than ready for her bottle.
Then it was on to deal with our new family. They hadn’t moved from their birth spot and let us walk right up. There were gasps all around as we dipped the umbilical cords and popped the lambs in the trailer.
Mum as ever was the hardest and it took all Nick’s strength to lift her into the trailer. Guy and Clio were tasked with holding her lying down for the short but bumpy journey across the fields to Nick’s shed, however she was too strong for them so I jumped on board handing my camera to one of our guests for safekeeping and she kindly took a few photos too.
They were safely unloaded into the new pen Nick and Guy had quickly constructed earlier and appeared to be comfortable with a dry floor beneath them. We watched them feed before continuing the feed run.
The rain looked set in for the day and much to the disappointment of the triplets we rang round to postpone their birthday party till next Sunday, of course this was cue for the sun coming out! Undeterred we found ourselves a new adventure for the afternoon, which will feature on Country Kids this coming weekend, and ate the birthday pizza and cake for tea. I’ll be baking again for next Sunday!
A final check on our new family, some more bedding and we knew we could sleep happily with my rubber gloves and most of the ewe’s dignity spared for another year. Hopefully if the weather stays dry later this week Mum and triplets will return to the field.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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