I have not meant to not post for a week, but it has been very busy here.
The snow that fell last Thursday stayed around until the middle of this week, with more falling on Tuesday but not sticking.
On Friday morning the snow was almost as deep as it got in the last lot of snow. And it was with, umm, say 5″ of snow on the ground that lambing started.
Our sheep graze on the common land near to our house and we lamb outside and then bring ewes and lambs in as they are born. It is very interesting actually, lambing outside means that lambs are almost always born in daylight and mother has kept a note of where each ewe chooses to lamb for the last few years. Some of our original flock come from a sheep farmer whose land edges part of the common and ewes that were born on this farm seem to lamb as close to his land as they can get, normally under his hedge.
We also now have some second generation ewes that we have breed, these ewes seem to go back to where they were born to lamb themselves. The older ewes also seem to have an order that they lamb in, possibly because of when their seasons are but it doesn’t change much from year to year.
Our first ewe to lamb this year was Charlotte, whose a first timer. She is a Cotswold cross ewe, so is quite big, and noisy too. Not surprisingly really, as she had ring-womb and so was unable to deliver. After a while trying to deliver the lamb ourselves it was a nerve racking drive to the vets along icy roads.
It was bad news when we arrived, the lambs tongue was blue and dry and the lamb was mostly likely dead already. Our vet spent some time and delivered the little black ram lamb, who still had a heart beat! He was very weak and the nurse took him and put him on oxygen and bullied him back to life.
The lamb was small, and showing signs of being premature. The vet checked for any other lambs and found a funny colour ‘water bag’ but no sign of another lamb. It is mostly likely extra strain and stress from the snow that has cause her to pick up some sort of infection and miscarry a lamb and go into labour early.
The nurse bought the lamb back and we gave it to Charlottle who seemed pleased enough with it so long as she didn’t have to get up and was happy enough to carry on cleaning him.
We bought them home and put them in a house together so as they could bond and we could make sure the lamb got extra top-up feeds as Charlotte didn’t have much milk. All seemed fine until Sunday night when mother went to give him his last feed and check of the night and found him dead. He had been doing so well and acting just like any other lamb until then too.
On Tuesday morning we had our next lot of lambs, Cobweb and the Cotswold both lambed on their own. Cobweb, who normally has triplets and spends the whole summer losing lambs, had twins girls and the Cotswold also has a female lamb. All nice sized and doing well, although Cobweb is not at all happy about being brought in and isn’t sure how many lambs she has. Today they came out whilst I cleaned their house out for the first time, it was nice seeing the first of our lambs out on the green.
Yesterday also saw our the first of this years goat kids born.
My mothers British Tog, Lenka, had twin girls. These are Lenkas first kids and she is doing well with them.
My mum got Lenka two years ago, she has very good breeding but before she came to us she had just been kept as a pet really. She was very over weight and was already possibly to old to become pregnant. It was a little disappointing when she didn’t kid last year but not really suprising given how over weight she was, and it just makes this years kids extra nice.
Lenka cleaning up her second kid less than a minute after it was born.
During the week my seed potato order arrived, also a package from the Potato Council containing loads of information about potato growing, recipes and two varieties of seed potato to try. There is also a massive wall chart to record the weather during the growing season and the final harvest weight. The info says to start earlys chitting on March 2nd, which happily is the right moon day for starting root vegetables off so I will start all my earlys chitting on that day.
This weekend we have made big progress on the new goat house, and this evening we finished putting the first section of roof on. Yay!
The other thing that has been keeping me busy this week is ‘course work’. I am a month through a three month intro course with the Open University. I am finding it hard going at the moment, partly because I am not studying what I really want to (but doing this course means I will do better at what I want to do, weather science) and because of all the other day-t0-day things that are going on.