Wednesday 16 April 2014

Gambolng addiction

When I go out for a last look at the lambing ewes after the 10 0 clock news its quiet in the lambing shed. Often the only sound is the grinding of twenty of so pairs of teeth as they chew the cud. I am looking for ewes that are likely to lamb during the night because this is usually when more than half of births happen. But not this year, most lambs have been born in the morning and afternoon, convenient for the Shepherd but unusual.

Birth is preceded by a period of intense maternal restlessness, getting up, lying down, pawing the ground bending the neck to look backwards. Again this year, the behaviour has been different, everything has happened very quickly!

The shed is by the roadside and open to view so visitors often stop to see what is going on and of course very few have had the chance to see farm animals born, when they do they are surprised to see that  most lambs are standing 30 minutes after they are born and have begun to suck within an hour. In the first week the lamb might suckle 60 or 70 times a day.

Kids do it too
When they aren't suckling or lying in the sun or the lambs are gamboling; racing around the field or playing king of the castle, play which I suppose develops social behaviour and fitness..

All of my lambs born so far have been female, Charollais crosses for future breeding.

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