Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A bit late for Mother's Day but...

Grumpy the ewe lambed in the early hours of this morning. I found her licking clean a single ram lamb, strong-looking and up on its feet, when I made my 5 a.m. check.

Grumpy seems to be making every effort to mother it properly. You may remember that she's had two lambs previously, but has never kept one alive longer than 48 hours. This is her final chance to perform. With that in mind, I've been calling her lamb 'Lucky', as in third time lucky. If he makes it, Lucky is destined for ice camp (maybe not so lucky for him) because his mother "throws singles", meaning she's not a particularly fecund line for breeding purposes.

Grumpy giving me the "Maternal Stinkeye"

Lucky is my first ever spring lamb. I've often wondered if all the weather-related uncertainty that comes with autumn lambing is worth it. Well, today it's 8 degrees outside, with 30 mph winds, and driving rain. Mike lit the wood stove and huddled in front of it to eat his lunch. I guess the spring grass isn't always greener.

My one lamb birth pales in comparison to Mike's 7,609 pheasant chicks that hatched today.

A small sample

I made my first delivery of the year to Exmoor, to our game farmer who raises the chicks for us in specially heated houses, and returns them as feathered-up adolescents in about two months' time.

I loaded up the van but stopped by the field to check the lamb before I left for my long drive. I wanted to make sure Lucky was feeding alright. He would need the energy to combat the elements, let alone the whole birthing experience. As I picked him up to feel his belly, he promptly deposited a poop in my lap. Well, at least that answered that question. Something has to go in, for something to come out. I changed my trousers, then headed off with a peeping van full of chicks.

Ewe L845, Grumpy's birthing partner, is looking close to delivery herself. I hope she has the sense to wait until this weather breaks.

If she doesn't, no matter - I have plenty more red lamb raincoats to go round.


Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

It is a testament to your farmishness that you name a lamb destined for a short life ending in ice camp Lucky.

You got lambs, you got chicks, you got puppies. As always, I have acute material envy.

Hazel said...

Summer didn't last long, did it? We've re-lit the wood burner too.

Well done Grumpy and fingers crossed Lucky :-)

janice bendixen said...

It snowed here yesterday, and was 32F this morning when I fetched the paper. You're not alone when it comes to inclement weather. But at least we're justified - it IS the sub-arctic after all...

Pam said...

7,609 CHICKS??? Holy crap! That's a lot of poultry. That is one very hefty ram lamb-no wonder Grumpy is grumpy.

Jennifer Montero said...

Pam - That's just ths week's chicks too. Next week will be the same (but for another customer). And yes, ram lamb is a Super Chunk, that photo is of him mere hours after he was born. He was leaping about today, so dare I say it's looking pretty good for mother and son so far?