There are a few signs for me that spring is really with us. First are the snowdrops and daffodils, then the lengthening days and warmth in the midday sun. Finally the big one here is the birth of our first spring lamb. This year it is Ebony, who I saved from the pot last year, and now leads the way.
A lucky escape for Ebony
Ebony was herself hand raised having been abandoned by her mother. She has proved to be a gentle and friendly sheep with our guests, but a dubious mother herself. Last year she had twins and rejected one who we raised. Lambo became the star of the farm in spring 2018 but no thanks to Ebony. Farmer Nick was all for calling time on Ebony after twice abandoning her lambs, however I saved her for one more year and now I know I made the right decision. Ebony has taken to her new son perfectly.
Born in the wild
Farmer Nick was feeding the sheep with our guests as the last stop on the morning feed run when he noticed we were one sheep missing. As there was no bleating to indicate being stuck up in the brambles we knew there was a good chance the missing sheep was in labour or just given birth. A scour of the field confirmed our suspicions as Ebony sat nursing her new born up in the trees. We followed Farmer Nick up the field as he collected the lamb to bring him down and perform the necessary checks with Ebony following close behind.
Correctly handling a lamb
It may look mean to be suspending the lamb by its legs, but this is actually the safest way, cuddling them to your body may feel instinctive to us but actually risks damaging the new born organs.
Down at the trailer the guests could admire mother and baby while Farmer Nick searched for his new born kit.
Why tail docking is recommended
In no time the tail is docked with a band below the nerve. This will just fall off in the coming weeks and is pain free. It isn’t essential, but helps prevent muck and poo that inevitably builds up when the full tail is left risking infection. Iodine on the umbilical cord is also to prevent infection and help the cord dry safely.
A move to the nursery.
We have a special field for our new born spring lambs which is more fox proof. Ebony and her lamb rode in the trailer with me to get there. The rest of the flock looked on with interest as we left them at the cattle grid.
Spray marking explained
Before we let mother and baby into their new field Farmer Nick gave them a quick spray. It is hard to see on Ebony as she is so dark, but the 11 means she is the first lamb to give birth to one lamb.
Waiting for more spring lambs
While Ebony and her new spring lamb enjoy the nursery to themselves, hopefully it won’t be long before another comes to join them. Watching the lambs make friends and skip around together is a real joy.
No wonder spring is such a happy and positive time to be on the farm. We’d love you to come and see them too. Do check out our latest availability this spring.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.