Lambing here on the farm has been a delight this year. With 3 sets of healthy twins and a singleton our nursery field is buzzing with spring happiness. Every new guest to the farm lets out an “ah” when they see their playful frolics and can’t wait for a cuddle.
I was beginning to think we could be in for a clear run this year with no orphans or disinterested Ewes; however that dream was shattered this weekend. Saturday is our busiest day, the only day when we don’t do an animal feed run with the guests, instead two of my boys Theo and Jed are in charge of feeding the animals while the rest of us are all hands on deck for our holiday changeover day. All was calm, the animals fed, the guests had said their farewells to us and the cleaners were hard at work to turn things round before the new holiday makers arrived.
I Spy Trouble
Nick was just working on re-hinging a door in one of our lodges, when his eagle eye spotted a small black and white blob across the river lying alone. Alert to the fact it might be a baby lamb and that lying alone was trouble, he radioed for the boys to go and check it out. Two anxious faces racing up to me said it all before they uttered a word. Twin lambs shivering violently, abandoned with all the cold slime of birth still lying wet on their skin. The boys were clearly in panic mode like rabbits in the headlights needing a sense of purpose and instructions to act. I sent them back to the field to gather up the lambs and bring them back to the house. They really were a sorry sight and my heart went out to them as we wrapped them in big old dog towels to clean and dry them before popping them in a laundry basket together under the radiator. The boys then set off in search of a large box and straw and were left to watch and cuddle the twins back to temperature while Nick downed tools and headed off to the farmers shop for bottles and lamb milk.
By this time the cleaners were finishing and I was tied up with checking the properties but Nick arrived back with all the necessary items in record time quickly setting the boys up to help the lambs take their first drink while he returned to hanging that door which was still sitting in the pathway!
The lambs were hungry and took most of the first bottle which is so important for them. They visibly perked up and had by now stopped shivering completely. The boys were thrilled and tended to them all day helped by Guy and Clio when they had finished their jobs, stripping beds and bagging up the laundry. It is important for new born lambs to stand and practice walking so tending also included a little exercise out on our lawn once they were warm and fed.
I gave the dear little lambs their last feed at 2am then left them snuggled together in their box under the radiator for the night.
The whole house woke to the welcome sound of bleating lambs in the morning. Guy and Jed were first up to do the morning bottles and Nick declared them strong enough to try the day out in the nursery field. They rode in style with Guy and Jed on the morning tractor and trailer run much to the delight of the newly arrived guests.
The boys made their home in a pen within the field and proceeded to tend to their needs diligently all day. The wind was wicked so they made use of their little shelter too.
As the day wore on the boys feared for their new “babies” over night, so they took it upon themselves to carry them back to the house and make them a home in the green house. Minutes later they wheeled up a bale of straw to make them very cosy indeed. Just as well I hadn’t yet got round to planting in there this season!
Before I knew it they had sleeping bags out there too and were planning to spend the whole night with them. I considered calling them in at this point, but given they had got this far I thought I would just let it play out a little longer, this turned out to be a wise call since it wasn’t long before the weaker of the lambs with less than solid poop had made a lovely mess on the boys in their sleeping bags sending them scurrying back indoors!
Far better to have the children change their mind at the reality of the situation than me pre-empt the inevitable and drag them in earlier when they were so committed to their plan. It was bath and bed for them and straight to the washing machine for all the clothes and sleeping bags!
“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.