Thankyou so much to all of you who have sent us messages of good wishes as we entered our first lambing season at Willow Farm. Also apologies for the lack of outgoing transmissions over the last week. Our webmistress the lovely Ali B is laid up with a grumbling appendix which is most uncomfortable (and not a little inconvenient!). So you’ll have to make do with a missive from me (which I am reliably informed are not as entertaining as the usual service).
Well its been an experience! All our ewes bar one have lambed over the last 48 hours and we currently have 8 healthy lambs.
Sadly we lost a ewe on Thursday morning, so my anxiety levels have been high. Our vet has been wonderfully supportive and there has been a great deal of learning. At times it has felt like some kind of relentless practical exam.
Our first lambs were a complete surprise as mum was showing not the earliest signs of giving birth when I left the lambing shed at 11.30pm on Thursday night for a snooze. At 1am the shed was alive with baa-ing and a quick inspection showed two lambs on their feet and 5 ewes all trying to claim them as their own. We found mum and penned her up with the little ones who were turned out to grass yesterday.
The second ewe to lamb had triplets. This happened on Friday afternoon although the first signs of lambing had shown themselves in the morning. The first one was presented bum first (which doesn’t work), the second had its front legs forward but its head pushed back (also not good) and the third was offering only one front leg and a head. So after a lot of theoretical learning and some advice from the vet I performed my first (3) assisted lambings. The ewe was exhausted after a long labour and has a touch of mastitis so the lambs need a lot of care. We still have two healthy lambs but unfortunately the third did not make it. As you can see from this picture I was ably assisted by Emma.
The next lambing was Saturday lunchtime and involved a perfect two feet and a nose presentation and would have been very straightforward if it had not been the most ENORMOUS lamb. With a little help and encouragement mum finally managed to expell a fantastic lamb which despite being new born was bigger than any of the others that had been born 24 hours earlier. This was followed by a fine twin although this one had only one front leg forward. These two are very well but we are keeping them and Mum inside until tomorow so she can finish a course of antibiotics which is a precaution against infection when the ewe has been assisted.
By this stage I was exhausted and then we were offered some respite by the lovely glamourpuss – the prize winning ewe that we bought last September. She popped out two perfect little lambs over the course of about 20 minutes at tea time on Saturday – just like they say in the books (I’m glad one of the ewes has read the book). These guys are so healthy and she has been such a good Mum that they went out to grass today.
So that only leaves number 88 as we call her. And I need to pop out and check on her now. We’ll continue to supplement the feed of the two surviving triplets and will keep you all posted on progress.
Thanks again for your interest and good wishes