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.