We discover a couple of new-borns running in the snow
With yet more snow this month, in between the really soggy thawing out periods, the going has been pretty difficult outside. Most of the animals have been moved inside, but we were just a little too late for one of our ewes…
We were feeding all of the animals in the late afternoon as always, and when we got to the sheep we noticed a couple of newborn lambs running about in the snow!
Whilst they looked healthy and dry (their mother had obviously been looking after them), the outdoor conditions were far from ideal. We very quickly moved them into a warm, dry pen (pictured). After a couple of hours, mother and lambs were doing well!
In the meantime, a quick look at our calendar revealed that these lambs were born at the very earliest possible date (taking the time with the ram and the typical gestation period into account), which caught us on the hop!
This month we were busy looking after the rejects
April brings lambs for us, as we generally put the ram with the ewes quite late in the year. The rationale is that if the worst of the weather is over, lambs can go outside sooner without danger.
This year, 5 ewes gave us 11 lambs – a mixture of singles, twins, and triplets!
The downside was that for some reason, 5 of the 11 were rejected by their mothers (‘orphaned’). This can be quite difficult for all concerned, not least because they have to be fed several times a day on powdered ewes milk. Expensive, and time-consuming! Then there’s the head butting that takes place once they get the hang of the bottle. After you’ve hand fed 5 lambs you are black and blue!
It was touch and go for one lamb, who we thought we would lose. It wasn’t clear that she’d been orphaned at first, and we found her in a corner of the shed shivering. We brought her inside in a dog cage and placed her next to the range to warm up, and slept with her in our arms.
By the next day, she was much better, and a few days later she went outside into a crate with a hot lamp. Little did we know that she’d soon have 4 friends to join her…
Spring produce – piglets, lambs and rhubarb
The last couple of months have proved to be very busy indeed, which isn’t unusual for Spring!
The piglets were weaned at 11 weeks old, and the sow moved back with the boar.
Following a tragedy with one of our ewes, we were delighted that our remaining 4 ewes gave us 8 lambs – (2 sets of triplets and 2 singles). 2 of the 8 were rejected by their mothers and proved to be quite tricky to rear, but once they got the hang of it things got considerably easier. All 8 lambs are outside and doing well.
The polytunnel is also showing good growth (and not too much damage from rabbits!), and we enjoyed our first of a healthy crop of rhubarb.