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Lambs everywhere

06.06.11 | How chic can they be?

Helen and Charlie

I just loved this picture of our intern Helen feeding Charlie the lamb. (Charlie after Charles Renee Mackintosh since she spend her first weeks wearing his namesake).

It's been a surprisingly good lambing year despite the harsh winter.

I'd begun to worry that my girls had lost a bit of condition in late March and that they'd find lambing hard work (or just leave me all the lambs to look after - it has happened).

However, I embarked on a very slick field rotation regime so that as soon as there was a blade or two of new grass, they were moved onto it. This paid off and with all the April sunshine they rounded up nicely.

I thought I'd get my first lambs around the 9th of April but it was nearly a week later before the first one arrived. I was beginning to worry that the appearance of improved condition was hiding some disaster (like they weren't in fact pregnant!).

 

 

 

 

First lamb

The first lamb arrived one bright morning - Delilah - and others followed thick and fast.

There was very little to do this year - the warmth seemed to make everything easy and it would be a case of arriving in the field to count the new arrivals.

Each morning I arrived with the dew on the ground to anxiously check my charges. Only to find that the ewes were - in the main - still 'in bed'. Mainly lying round the edges of the field looking at me as though I was just far too keen.

Extensive observations lead me to conclude that the modern ewe gets up at 9.15am. Not exactly the crack of dawn.

 

Those that had given birth were usually standing - making them easy to spot.

The general routine was just to check the lambs and disinfect their navals with iodine.

The weather meant that (mostly) little waterproof jackets were unnecessary - and too hot.

The great thing about all the sunshine is the lack of pressure all the animals seem to have been under. No competing for resources - the ewes (apart from a couple) have had loads of milk and it's all been easy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have a heap of lambs. From their laid back look I'd say these are Denzel and Washington with one of their mates.

There's been a lot of late evening gamboling and general lamb fun. They do seem to enjoy tearing up and down the field, standing on stray hay bales and looking very bouncy.

 

 

 

 

 

Shetland lambs come in a full spectrum variety pack of colours.

This one is Duffy and she's truly excellent. 

Note the in-utero application of eye-liner. How did she manage it?

As they get older, lambs tend to get paler and some of their markings look a little less dramatic.

Duffy was just born here - I'll try and remember to post a photo of Duffy when she grows up.

 

 

It's unbelievable how much noise a flock of ewes with lambs can make. You can find out if you try this simple experiment:

  • Simply round up your flock and open a gate.
  • Move sheep through gate (using your mate's sheepdog for assistance).
  • Now move sheep into new field ensuring that lambs and ewes are thoroughly mixed.
  • Close gate and listen to the sound of 50 odd ewes shouting 'over here' and lambs shouting 'where are you?'

I do think that some of them may have been less than polite about their offspring, but I can't be sure.

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