December 2011 lambs

The Hampshire Down ewes which were delivered to us in August duly delivered before Christmas. The large ewe, number 24, recently named Sheila by Lily, gave birth to a single ram lamb on Sunday 11th December. We’ve named the lamb Joseph. Sheila gave birth in the middle of the field; and Joseph took quite a while to get to his feet. Fortunately Farmer John was on hand and after some 15 minutes John was able to persuade Joseph to stand up; rather unsteady at first, but he was soon able to walk to take milk from his mother. It was a wonderful sight to see Sheila and Joseph bond together. It was then a case of moving them up the field to the sheep shelter. It sounds easy, and by all accounts it should have been, but Sheila hadn’t read the script. She was supposed to follow her lamb into the shelter, but she was more intent on running down to the far end of the field. We slowly coerced her up to the shelter, only for her to bolt and head back down the field. Finally after an hour and a quarter of running up and down the field in the freezing cold we finally had them in the pen. Once in the pen they settled down and looked quite at home. Sheila is a very good mother and takes really good care of her lamb and Joseph grows by the day.

While we were penning Sheila, we decided it would be best if number 22, named Daphne (the other ewe in lamb) was also penned. We didn’t relish another birth in the field, particularly if she gave birth at night. As it turned out Daphne gave birth to a ram lamb in the early hours of Thursday 15th December. We thought she was close to giving birth the previous evening, so I went to see her at midnight, but there was no sign. The next morning I got up at 5:30am to see how she was, and there in the straw was a little ram lamb, barely an hour old. We stayed to make sure Muttley was getting milk, and that mother and son were comfortable before we left to go to work. Unfortunately she had another lamb sometime between 8:00am and 10:00am, and it was born with the membrane over its head and mouth. We’re not sure if the mother was too inexperienced or too tired, but she unable to remove it, and by the time someone was on hand, the little lamb had passed away. We’ll not let that happen again.

Both mothers and lambs are doing well, protected from the cold and wet in their shelter. And, John delivered straw bales and arranged them along the front to protect the lambs from the cold easterly wind. Sunday 18th December was brighter for a while, so it gave the lambs a chance to stretch their legs and enjoy the winter sunshine.