We took this photo of a neighbouring field last month - when everything was still very fresh and green. It does not look the same now!
The lambs - which were so tiny back in April have really grown, with some of the larger lambs now almost as big as their mothers. To watch two huge lambs diving for their mother's milk with such strength that they lift the ewes back-end off of the ground is funny to see, but the ewes are starting to look a bit fed up of the whole business of providing milk to such boisterous and independent off-spring. We will probably wean off the lambs in late August, moving the ewes a few miles away to a different field, where they have nothing to do but eat and regain condition.
We lost two lambs over the last few months - and each occasion was very sad. One lamb developed CCN - a brain illness - and the other who we nursed carefully for over a month - never really recovered from being abandoned by her mother (and stolen by another ewe) at birth. Both times we were able to take the lambs to our local vet to have them euthanised. It's very upsetting for us as we spend a lot of time with our sheep (and even more with the ill ones!) and grow attached to them.
We had to bottle feed two lambs for the first momth or so after they were born. The ewe birthed twins but would only ever feed one. If the second lamb tried to feed she would butt it away. However, she did not reject the lamb outright (as sometimes happens). It turned out that the ewe really only just had enough milk for one lamb and so had made a decision not to feed the second.
There's a wee film clip below showing the paler lamb (the one not being fed by mum) looking a lot quieter and less active than her sister. We kept the three of them in a pen for over a week so that mum got used to the idea of both lambs being around.
We ended up feeding both of them and the ewe later came to allow both lambs to nurse for what milk there was. Four feeds a day become three, then two, then one and now both lambs are fully independent. Having been bottle-fed, they are irrepressible, and the first to run up when we arrive at the field each day. The lambs are currently called Tillie and TillieToo but we will have to find proper names, soon. Here is TillieToo getting stuck in to the bottle...
It was a tricky lambing period over all with some new challenges for us but lambs now seem healthy, happy and are growing fast.
Comments are closed.