Our sheep farming neighbours have roughly another six weeks of lambing to go. They started the process about end of December. The farmers have lost one ewe recently, and from what I saw, one big lamb at the weekend. Apart from that, they appear to have had a successful lambing, so far. In the last week there have been three sets of triplets, which are being taken gentle care of. The lambs, though small, as you would expect, are good looking ones. The main ‘orphans’ seem to be where a ewe has udder difficulties, or rejects one of her lambs. The farmer’s wife, (who is a farmer) said that between the three types of sheep they rear, they’ll have something like 1400 four-legged animals to husband, including the ewes,the lambs and rams, till the next lamb sales. With the sales in mind, the farmers sort out which ewes are likely to be kept, which rams stay intact for breeding, keeping and selling on. Most first year lambs that are kept, are moved to other fields and are not bred from till their 2nd year, when they are more able and physically matured.

Some years ago, an early lamb, (December-January) was, by August, interested in a well-endowed ram. The two animals were in different fields though able to muzzle and sniff, I am sure. However, the well grown, but still agile young woolly lady jumped the dry stone wall and love was requited. As the farmer’s wife was relating the story to me, she explained with irritation, that it wasn’t the ram’s fault, it was “her’s, the lamb’ fault. If she hadn’t jumped the wall and tempted him…………” (There’s an old moral tale here). The eventual birth was a good single lamb and the ‘teenage delinquent’ developed into a model mum.



0 thoughts on “SCENES OF A RURAL IDYLL

  1. What a great number of sheep the farmer has to look after and me being a townie I enjoy reading of life on a farm not an easy job for them Im sure πŸ˜‰

  2. The family of farmers work very hard, so too, do the farm hands. There’s one girl who puts as much energy into the sheep rearing and shepherding as do the farm owners. They all become very tired with the constant demands of the ‘maternity’ sheds at night. Some lambs are born out in the fields, only when the weather is settled and warmer though. It is still not safe to leave pregnant ewes out; their lambs could be affected by the low overnight temperatures.

    Hill sheep always birth much later here in the far North, when the weather is usually more equable. Pedigree and prize stock have to be nurtured much more.

  3. Early lamb, well matured – probably eight months old -but would have been held back from mating too soon. She obviously had instinctual ideas of her own.

  4. No not early maturing, it would be normal growth and development. Any lamb of that age that has been well looked after who is able to roam freely, would no doubt mate if the circumstances were there. A ram would take his opportunities as well.

    Usually, lambs and rams are very well separated, fields apart, (meaning miles away)from each other. The only times that rams are in fields with ewes, are planned periods for serving the ewes, or when the ewes are pregnant. We shall probably see the start of the rams serving the ewes around late August- September.

  5. You’re right Ellie, it is a long lambing season. There are three main breeds that are phased for lambing and I think two are pedigrees. The others are high quality mixed breeds. Add to that two Suffolks plus their lambs this year, for introducing their grandson to the responsibilities of farming life (with the help of his dad who knows the ropes but works elsewhere)the farmers work work long hours and work hard.

  6. That is so cute. I think I saw Shaun in some form in The Science Museum in London, when I when to an exhibition of Nick Parkes’ ‘animated’ life. Sadly I was not the right size and height to slide down the water pipe from the bathroom!

  7. No collies at work this year, or last two or three on this farm. There were two collies in the past, one a great sheep herder. When that one when to pastures in the sky, the pup, by then grown, which was due to take over, though a pleasant character, was rather skittish and always stayed at the farmers’ heels. No point in them having another one in the circumstances. They manage well without a dog.

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