Less Blackberry, More blackboard-y
Another wave of disease has ripped through this year's crop of lambs: coccidiosis. It's a parasite that attacks the intestinal tract. The first you know about it is a weak animal usually with diarrhea. Megalamb was the first lamb to show symptoms and the only one to succumb to its effects. Because I have a great vet, and I happened to recognise the distinct smell associated with coccidiosis from dealing with infected pheasants, we identified the wretched single-celled culprits immediately (he used a microscope - more scientific than my sense of smell). We treated all the lambs and 72 hours later, they're still alive. Except Megalamb, who is now Megadeath.
Now we are seven. That's a lambing percentage about 85%. This is an appalling result. Last year was a 200%. (True, there were only two ewes lambing then.)
With lambs, our total flock numbers 19. I moved mothers and lambs from the maternity paddock to fresh grazing. The ewes walked quietly into their trailer. The lambs had to travel separately from ewes, in the back of the Land Rover, to prevent being inadvertently squashed in transit. The lambs are now fast-moving and very wriggly, and I had to catch and load them one at a time. I have no photos of the process because I had no help, either to take pictures or manhandle sheep. Shoot season is in full swing so Mike, who I usually press-gang into helping, has problems of his own to manage. I fear lambing will be a tiring, lonely time of year.
I made a little video yesterday when I did my morning check and feed of the sheep, so you can see how the flock is getting on. I have a few more ear tags to put in, and the lambs need a course of vaccine soon, but now my focus must shift to game: pheasant and partridge shoots on the estate, and culling deer. There is staff to feed, and dogs to work, and deer to put in the larder (or money in the bank). The blog topics will shift accordingly, and I promise to update more regularly, with photos.