Monday, 9 March 2009

A Visit to the Maternity Ward.
















Last week the weather was warm and Spring-like and our neighbour and friend decided to lamb out of doors - much the safer option if the weather is right. This week, when he was due to begin lambing there is a bitter wind blowing and squally showers, so it was all change at the week-end - bring the pregnant ewes into a building and create a maternity ward. This afternoon I went across to see how things were going. Lambing is in full swing.
I took some photographs as you will see; the ladies in waiting all seemed totally unconcerned about my presence, as they wandered around waiting for it to be their moment. Already some have lambed and they are penned in with straw bales and gates (some who lambed last week are already out in the field - once the lamb has had a good drink of its mothers milk it is safe for them to go out).
In the first pen were four tiny little lambs, each one the third lamb from one mother. Such lambs usually have to be bottle-fed as most mothers have only enough milk for two babies. These four tiny chaps all crowded together to greet me in case I was carrying bottles! It was hard to get a photograph but managed to take one little chap standing on his own.
Before they go out into the field they are sprayed with a number - you will see number 10 ewe and number 11 lamb - mother and baby bear the same number and then should they get hopelessly separated it is easy to reunite them.
The photograph of the lazy-looking big lamb lying asleep is of a single lamb - see how much bigger he/she is than when there are twins or triplets.
There was such a cosy atmosphere in the shed - in contrast to the biting weather outside.
Many of the ewes look ready to lamb any minute. Of course the farmer always hopes for twins.
Sheep are funny things - in a very severe winter ewes often ingest one or two foetuses so that they only produce a single lamb if the weather is bad. Nature is so clever.

24 comments:

Gramma Ann said...

Those little guys are just so cute. But all baby animals are cute, aren't they?

HelenMHunt said...

Those photos are so lovely aren't they? What a wonderful thing to be involved with.

Reader Wil said...

Good to have the ewes lamb inside! I know somebody here not far from where I live, who has a special pen for all the sheep. The lambs are lovely! Thanks for sharing.

BarbaraS said...

They are cute, but they're designed to be so... another thing Mother Nature does so well. Glad to hear that lambing is going well.

Heather said...

I think lambs are one of the prettiest of all baby animals. We have seen a few in fields near here, but we are quite a bit south of Yorkshire. I could almost smell the straw as I looked at your photos - thankyou for letting us have a glimpse of farming life.

Frances said...

They're gorgeous. I can't bear to think of mint sauce but I'm a vegetarian so I don't have to.

I'm very jealous of the view from your window.

Rowan said...

What lovely photos, new lambs are so very appealing.

Janice Thomson said...

What could be sweeter than a newborn lamb...delightful photos Weaver.

MarmaladeRose said...

Lovely lamb photos. I'm very lucky, the farmer has been putting his new mums and their lambs into the field right outside my attic window! Aaaaaaah....I think I need to sew, crocher, knit a lamb.

Oh yes. Sals Snippets has been on my favourites list for a long time.

acornmoon said...

How gorgeous, how could anyone not smile when they see these?

Coastcard said...

Such wonderful faces! I saw my first baby lamb of the season (quite late?) on Saturday in rural Carmarthenshire. Last year on Gower there were lambs in December in a barn where folk were buying Christmas trees (it made such a lovely real-life tableau!).

Raph G. Neckmann said...

How gorgeous! And how lucky for you to be there in the midst of all this, Weaver. It'll be nice to see photos of them growing up too!

Kayla coo said...

I love to see lambs playing.
It's a memory from my childhood.
We lived in a very small village opposite a farm.

Woman in a Window said...

The lambs are cute but I've got my eye on that shed wall. Is that impossibly wide planking? Oh, my heart. That can't be.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, gosh. Thanks so much for sharing this. How I would love to see it all in person!! You have such a lovely life, Weaver!

willow said...

Aww...those little guys are so sweet!

Dave King said...

Loved your maternity ward - the biggest, most greatest Aaaah! factor I've seen all year!

Lucy Corrander said...

I wish you hadn't added that last sentence.

Well, no, perhaps not. I didn't know that - and yes, nature is wonderful. (Sort of!)

Lucy

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

The lambs are cute and it's fun to see them gambolling around in the field too! But they grow into sheep and when we lived near Glencoe, feral sheep made our lives "frustrating"!!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Seems to be a pretty general opinion that lambs are cute! Yes - they do grow up into sheep = and sheep can be frustrating - but (if you are not vegetarian) they make delicious chops. As our local farmer says - lambs often have a short life but a merry one - and if no-one ate meat then there would be no lambs. Feel a bit ambivalent about it myself but can see his point.
Woman in a window - the shed wall is made of concrete although I can see whay you thought from the photograph that it was planking.
Will post more photographs when they grow up a bit.
They may look cuddly but their coats feel a bit like pan scrapers = they are certainly not soft and fluffy. Thanks for the comments.

BT said...

Oh how gorgeous they are. I can smell that maternity ward now. How interesting about the ewes ingesting the unwanted lambs when the weather is too cold. A lovely post.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh Weaver, this was wonderful to see.. the sweet little things.. I want to pick them up and sit them on my knee... I never knew that about the sheep ingesting the fetus..They know how to survive... and great idea with the numbering!!
the mothers in waiting look like they can't figure out what to do with themselves...

the whole scene feels so cozy!!

Hildred and Charles said...

Brings back many (mostly) fond memories of nights in the maternity ward....

One year we had all black lambs, - What a sight on the hillside. I miss those days....

Thank you for a peek at someone else's lambing adventures.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Breed of sheep.
These are mules, not thoroughbreds - bred entirely for meat I am afraid.