Wednesday, 31 March 2010

It's lambing time...

Well, we've started lambing a whole day earlier than scheduled. I still can't believe how accurate the scanner must be to be able to predict it that close - the man is incredible!
I arrived at the sheep fields this morning around 10am and no sign of anything happening lamb wise, I really thought that not much more would happen today and went to do a few chores. I arrived back at the fields around 2pm to find twin lambs up and about with their mum, and what an incredible sight that was. They were feeding away, up on their feet and looking healthy. The rest of the flock were really curious about these new arrivals and when one of the younger ewes got a bit to close the mum intervened and sent the curious onlooker on her way. Watching the natural protective and caring "mum" instinct is a wonderful thing.
I decided to stay at the fields the rest of the day just in case anything else happened and when I returned from having a cup of coffee with a neighbour I found another ewe just in the early stages of labour - at least I didn't miss the birth this time and felt really privileged to be able to watch the whole process. The ewe mothered the new born lamb and then after around 20 minutes the next water bag appeared indicating the arrival of the twin. Unfortunately after about 45 minutes the only progress visible was the unborn lambs two legs sticking out. I called a friend and he confirmed my gut feeling which was that the ewe would probably need some help delivering the twin lamb. Very nervously I pulled on an arm length glove and managed to catch the ewe with my spare hand. On closer inspection I could see that it was in fact the hind legs sticking out which meant that the lamb was backwards. I slowly pulled the two legs making sure not to squeeze too hard and suddenly there was a newborn lamb at my feet. I gave it a quick wipe down and cleared its nostrils and then returned it to its eagerly awaiting mum, she gladly took over from there cleaning the lamb up and gave it its first drink of milk. Nerves, excitement, fear and elation are just a few of the emotions I went through.

So there you have it, the first day of lambing - eventful,scary and oh so very humbling. Fingers crossed for the next few weeks now as the rest of the lambs arrive...

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