I hope you all had a lovely Easter, ours was very quiet until yesterday when it was all systems go with the ewes. We went out to find that ewe number one had lambed in the afternoon, she had triplets, all girls, sadly one was already dead and the other was cold and nearly lifeless. The third was up on her feet and doing fine so we left her in with mum and took the other indoors, we spent the next few hours trying to warm her up and get some glucose into her for strength. We did try to put her back in with Mum but she rejected it and so our work began. After a very long night of trying to feed her hourly she is nice and warm this morning, has taken her first 100mls of milk and tried to stand up, she is also quite vocal! We gave her concentrated colostrum every four hours and sat her on our laps with a hot water bottle underneath her.
It was a very exciting moment when we realised they had been born and then a mad scramble to get the emergency kit out and administer whatever we could to keep the little one alive. We have named her Betty after my Mum as she was born on her birthday, if the other ewe lambs today and has a boy we will nick name it after our middle daughters boyfriend whose birthday is today!
We still had to keep an eye on the one with Mum to make sure she was doing ok, I soon realised that Mum had not let her milk down and the lamb was trying to feed in vain. Later that evening I took a warm flannel out and washed her teats to try and encourage the milk flow, I was dead chuffed when it worked and now little one has been happily feeding through the night. We need a name for her and as it was the first of April I think we will name her after the month.
We also picked up the seven orphan lambs last Thursday, they are in the stable block and doing well. It is so cold for the time of year, the shepherd told us he had lost a lot of lambs to hypothermia as his ewes all lamb out in the field. The orphans are in a pen with plenty of straw and blankets draped over the side of the hurdles to keep out the draught and though they were cold to start with they have gained strength and growing nicely. It’s just a shame they can’t go outside even for a short time to have a hop, skip and jump around. Only two of the orphans have names at the minute, one is Billy because he looks more like a goat and one of the girls is Daisy because she is rather cute, eventually we will come up with names for the rest of them and I will let you know when we do.
We have had plenty of visitors to see the lambs over the weekend and it is lovely to see small children, see, touch and feed little lambs, the adults are always smitten as you can imagine, more so than the children sometimes! If you want to come and have a look just let me know, afternoon is probably the best time for me and the lambs.
As I have said already the rest of the week has been fairly quiet, we still can’t get on the garden even though we have had a glimpse of the Sun it has still be accompanied by a cold East wind. The seeds my Mum took back to her place have started to sprout, and in the week we planted as much as we could in the poly tunnel just in case that’s the only planting we get to do this year. We put broad beans, peas, lettuce, radish on one side and the first early and second early potatoes on the other side. At the very least we should get a crop from each of those, this prolonged cold spell is not doing anyone any good at all.
All other livestock on the farm are doing fine, the hens and ducks are still laying well and the horses have now been turned out wether they like it or not! I am expecting a hatch of chicks tomorrow, Cream Legbars, which lay the Blue eggs, lol it was bad timing on my part for everything to happen at once. Someone commented that it must be hard work but I replied, I think smallholders thrive on the challenge to be honest, that is certainly true on our part, throw us a curve ball and we will return to the very best of our ability.
I will put some pictures of Betty at the bottom of the blog and see if I can get one of Mum with April, I also have some video footage of when we first bought Betty in and tried to get her a first feed into but I still can’t get that to upload on here so it will follow on my Facebook page.
On the food front, I did not get round to making my hot cross buns as I was so busy with the arrival of the orphan lambs and establishing a feeding routine which was complicated at first due to the fact that they were used to different shaped teats, but luckily my Mum had a go at making some and we went round on Good Friday to have some with coffee. My hubby declared they were the best he had ever tasted and as you can imagine he does not pay her compliments very often so that is a very high accolade indeed! We also had cup cakes made by my young niece which were lovely and a roast dinner out on the Sunday, and of course chocolate eggs, so we did alright considering 🙂
I have a busy day ahead of me so I am off to get a couple of photos for you before Betty wants another feed and then will upload this blog. Have a good week and keeping wishing for the Sun to appear and the east wind to disappear.
The Orphan lambs, mum with little April in the corner and Betty this morning doing well.