Tag Archives: lambs

Saturday, March 30th 2012

Many years ago, when I was being made redundant from my first job which was in a community radio station, a colleague suggested that I should made an audio diary of my day-to-day life. I’ve always liked the idea but as the project folded and I became busy with other work and just general life took over I’ve never gotten around to it but it has remained an idea I’ve liked. I thought I would revive the idea here with a monthly post of what has happened during the day…

Morning: Woke up early as normal but made myself go back to sleep for a while. Yesterday I started a new job (HURRAY!) back working with young people, the shifts are long but not that much longer than I have been doing and fewer each week. When I wake up again I stay in bed for a while watching the end of an episode of A Touch of Frost I started watching the night before and ‘surfing’ (facebook/email and wherever those take me). Outside there is still some snow left but it is only really around the edge of the fields and where trees throw shade over the ground. It looks nice enough but still cold. I get up and go over to mothers spotting a ewe and her lambs we have been trying to get back from the edge of our run (the area of common our sheep roam over), the patch of grass she is on is long enough for her to stay for a while so I carry on back and collect mother to make bring her back easier. We bring her back and check the others. At the bottom of the pen is what looks like a dead sheep but lucky it is a ewe who has cast herself (when a sheep rolls onto their side, normally with their legs up hill and can’t get back up) When I reach her I found a MASSIVE lamb cuddled up behind her. I stand the ewe up, she is very wobbly on her back end not really surprisingly given the size of the lamb. I check the lamb over; he is fine but has only been half cleaned and the ewe (a first time mum) goes straight off to join the others without a backward look. We bring them both back to the house and put them in a pen, he gets a bottle and she gets a bucket of feed and some hay. We carry on with the other bottles, Enchantments and we have three lambs too. Then phone our feed merchant to check what time they are closing today it being Easter weekend. There is time to have a hot drink and hay and water the goats before we have to leave to collect the weeks feed.

Lunch time: We collect feed and a van full of hay and go back home for home made chips and butter bean curry.

Afternoon: It’s still cold and not at all conducive for working outside even though there are plenty of jobs to be done and stopping to eat lunch has made me realise how tired I am, so me and mother agree not to try with any of the extras today. We take hay and water to the ponies. At the moment my brother is fitting a kitchen and we have no outside tap, even if we did I would have thought it would have been frozen, so watering everyone involves filling our collection of 5 gallon water containers with an old plastic milk bottle from the kitchen tap. On the way home we stop by at a neighbours to drop off some feed and have a chat. Everyone is feed up of this weather; the frozen water buckets, the lack of grass, the driving wind that goes right through everything and all the extra jobs it makes. Back home I finish the goats, more bottles and I collect some eggs to take home. We open the bees and place some more fondant in with them, it isn’t really warm enough to open the hive but there was an alert go out the other day about feeding because of the cold weather and when we open the hive to add more they are out so good job we did. The sun comes out and the wind dies down and they start to fly for about ten minutes whilst it lasts. I feed the donkeys and call in on my sister on the way home to drop some bits off and cuddle the baby then home.

Late afternoon/evening: Back at home I get a second wind and can’t sit still for long so occupy myself with cleaning and starting an over due sort out whilst watching more A Touch of Frost. I have too much stuff; too many bags of things saved for craft project I’ve never even started, too many piles of paper work that needs filing and too many bags of ‘recycling’ so as I don’t have to put too much into the landfill bin. I think maybe next month I might try to de-clutter one thing each day; take one item I know I will never use again to the charity shop, put the bag of batteries out for collection, offer the pile of used jiffy bags on freecycle and tick off one of those sort of little jobs to stop hoarding so much of it. I find lots more packets of seeds and fill a bag of egg boxes and borrowed clothes to return to my sister. I stop at some point for some fried egg butties for dinner. It’s light until just gone seven pm and all of the snow seems to have gone from the fields, not so at mothers which still has a layer of white anywhere that is not in the open. I go to bed just after nine pm

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Some sheep photos from March

Just born. Briony with her the last of her triplets just after he was born - 10th March 2010

Briony with her three lambs, all less than an hour old. The girl is the one looking for food - 10th March 2010

Nesta with her lambs out in the field - 21st of March

Being watched in the field - 21st March 2010

Flattie out on the common with her lambs - 28th March 2010

Coming up to say hello, not sure who's lamb this is - 28th March 2010

Sun, sun, sun

I’ve had this last week off work, which has been useful as me and mother have been able to split the night and morning lambing shifts between us. It has been nice weather all week but I had my first assignment to do which I handed in yesterday, it doesn’t feel like I have spent much time outdoors at all really. But the sun has made lambing nicer, no walking around in the pouring rain or sitting in the drizzle whilst deciding if a ewe needs help or not, or even just walking around in mud all the time.

The goat kids have had a busy week too; mothers two have been disbudded (which stops them growing horns) and all of the babies have started to come away from their mothers at night so as we can milk in the morning. After a bottle the babies go back in with their mums for the day. 

I have chosen names for mine; the darkest one (with least white on her head) is Belladonna, Bella for short, named after her father Knightshade and the other is Briony. Mother still hasn’t chosen names for hers so they are still being referred to as ‘straight’ and ‘curly’ as one of them has a slightly wavy coat. We weigh them again yesterday and they have all double in weight, mothers two are 5.2 and 5.3kg, Bella is 3.3kg and Briony is 3.8kg

The weather today has been really warm… almost hot even… and the garden is starting to grow as well now. The Lemon Balm is sending up new shoots and the self-sown garlic bed has lots of sprouts coming through and the Raab 60 that I sowed at the end of last week is up and doing well. Today I have sown some Musselburgh Leeks and some True and Tender Parsnips. The leeks have been sown in module seed trays and the parsnips have been sown into toilet roll inner tubes, one or tube, so as they can be sown out without disturbing the roots.

Kids of my own

My goat kidded on Monday morning, two little girls all on her own. I got ‘the call’ whilst I was at work which brightened up the day. I still haven’t managed to take any decent photos of them but will in the next couple of days.

They are in with Lenka and her kids and yesterday I weighted them all; my two are 1.77kg and 1.57kg while Lenkas are 2.58kg and 2.59kg. Such a big difference considering they were only born two days apart. Middle-younger-sisters goat also kidded, a single boy. They are in a different house and we didn’t weigh him although we should as he’s massive.

Lamb count now stands at nine, five girls and four boys.

Lambs, potatos and studies

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.   

Charlottle with her lamb - 19th February 2010

 

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.  

The Cotswold out with her lamb - 27th February 2010

 

The Cobweb with her lambs - 27th February 2010

 

Yesterday also saw our the first of this years goat kids born.  

Lenka with her first kid a few minutes after it was born - 27th February 2010

 

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.

A weekend of promise

It is 9am, I’ve already been up and out for over an hour. 

We have a new set of twin lambs. The moring is still a crisp morning but the sun is already building up heat.

I have a whole weekend with nonthing much that has to be done and a whole list of things i want to do stretching out a head of me…

Bliss