The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Day seven

Lambing is definitely speeding up now. I had about 15 to turn out this morning. Farm lad is collecting up freshly born lambs with their mothers from the fields and filling the pens as fast as I empty them. I have a new problem with my turn outs today. A couple of ewes are the spooky run about kind and won't follow the lambs, so i resort to driving them along with one lamb. But today the lambs don't want to follow they just want to stand there shouting and not moving. So I pick up lamb 1 and put down lamb 2 to see if he'll run, but he won't, so I wave my arms, clap and shout in an attempt to scare the lambs and make them run after their mothers, it doesn't work. The lambs just stand there bleating and looking pitiful. I try gently moving them along with my toe (!). I can't even remember how I finally got the dratted creatures out into the field, but it was some subtle blend of cajoling and coaxing and a bit of brute force and lots of baaing. I used to be a bit self conscious about making baaing noises, now I do it all the time and it is very effective. I have worked out that ewes have 3 primary ways of locating and identifying their young. First comes sound. If they cant see their lamb nearby they will run towards anything making a bleating noise. It can be another lamb, another sheep or a human being making a noise something like a sheep, they are completely indiscriminate about noises. They will often, but not always run towards a noise even if they can't see anything lamb like. Some ewes will stand and shout and expect the lambs to come to her. The second sense is sight. They will run more enthusiastically towards a bleating noise if there is something lamb shaped in the same direction. Once they are close enough then smell comes into play. they will sniff a lamb and if it doesn't smell right they will reject it. They have no compassion at all for a hungry lamb that doesn't smell right. if it's not their own lamb they will simply abandon it, even going so far as to butt it away.

It's now Thursday morning and I've run out of time again, so here quickly are some pictures from Wednesday.
This is the main hay and straw barn. It's fun getting bales down from the top, a bit like soft rock climbing.
 This is my least favourite shed. It's the old shippon where cows used to be kept. it's dark and doubles up as a dog kennel, so it smells horrible!
 here's the quad bike and trailer with two mules and their lambs just about ti be turned out
 and finally, here's a very freshly born lamb. It literally slithered out, back feet first as I approached with the bike. I then bundled them all in the trailer and took them into the shed.
Off to work again now....

No comments:

Post a Comment