3 July 2022

A New Pen for the Pet Lambs

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Once the pet lambs are weaned, I like to move them from their "ewe and lamb" pens in the middle of the lambing shed to a bigger pen. Not only are they easier to feed, but they have so much more space to run and play. I usually put them in one of the pens that houses the pregnant ewes over winter in the lambing shed, but over recent years I've started having a huge crow problem. The shed is built in an old-fashioned style with plenty of tiny holes that birds can easily fly through, not to mention the door that leaves over a foot of space above it. Twenty to thirty crows wait until I have the lambs fed before swooping in and stealing the food. There are few things that make me very angry but crows stealing the lambs' food is one of them. The bird scarer I purchased worked a bit but crows aren't stupid, and the flapping kite that was last year's attempt has almost destroyed itself with the force of the wind around here.

All of this is a long way of saying that I came up with the perfect solution to my crow problem and it didn't include violence. I simply moved my big pen of pet lambs to the sheep house down below - the sheds in the lower yard are modern, and mostly bird proof. These days I feed my lambs and their food isn't stolen. My blood pressure is much more stable this year!

The lambs loved their new home.

The sheep house also is much brighter and less draughty than the old lambing shed. A few days later, after they'd settled in, I went to sit with the lambs, along with Fly and Susan.

Wendy and Ivy.

Ivy again. She's cheeky.

Enid giving Fly a once-over.

Sooty and Holly saying hello to Susan.

Susan and Fly started playing and some of the lambs were fascinated.

Wendy was especially fearless - she was having a great time.

Astrid getting involved.

Margie too.

Dasiy.

Space! No crows! 

As much fun as sitting in the lambs was, I was getting a lot of abuse from certain ones who kept trying to jump up on me. Eventually I thought I'd been given plenty of fresh bruises and took some photos from outside the pen. Hazel, Sooty, Martha and Sweep.

Suicide Man (long story) and Sweep.

Violet, Sooty and Margie.

Sooty - what a face! 

26 June 2022

Holly's Home Away From Home

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Cousin Holly has been to stay with us again. It's always a pleasure to take care of Holly - how could anyone resist this face?

My bed is no longer my own when Holly's around.

Holly's ears were blowing all over the place on this day. 

Susan often joined us for a walk or ball fetching session. So that everyone is happy, I have a tennis ball for each of them.

It was 6:45 in the morning when I took these photos in front of the house.

The air was thick with water droplets.

It was wonderful to have you, Holly. I'm looking forward to your next Holly-day already!

24 June 2022

Pardon, Pearl?

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Pearl was born in March on the same day as Nancy, and was in fact stolen from her uninterested mother by Nigel and Nancy's mother who was very keen for an extra lamb, it would seem. We found Nigel's mother, a Cheviot, with Pearl and the ewe's male lamb, assumed both lambs were hers, and put them in a small pen. Shortly after, though, Nancy appeared. The two Cheviot lambs were smaller and had a pointier face and huge Pearl was the odd lamb out. I found Pearl's mother in the big pen still, with no milk and no interest in her baby. So a pet Pearl became.

From day one I've found her extremely adorable. She's cute in that classic way, like if someone asked you to picture a little lamb it would probably look like Pearl. We took a walk down the lane as the bluebells were in full bloom, but Pearl wasn't interested in the flowers and stuck to me like glue. Giving up on photos, we instead went to sit on the steps in front of the house. Pearl wasn't sure what to make of this and kept staring at me - at least I got some photos.

I don't understand why Pearl was slightly unnerved by my sitting down - I have sat down to give her her milk many times a day since she was born. She was so off balance that she started talking to me, looking for reassurance. Her voice is very unusual and so I thought I'd take a video. She speaks twice during this if you listen carefully:

21 June 2022

Sunset at the Top

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One glorious evening I drove to the top of the highest hill on the farm to take some sunset photos of the ewes and lambs. I wasn't there long before the curious sheep gathered.

This ewe had quads this year and ended up rearing none of them - two ended up as pets, and one, Margie, is being kept in the pet flock.

This is Titch's mum.

Gertie didn't rear any lambs this year through no fault of her own. Better luck next year I hope.

I remember the pure joy I felt when I discovered the Mule I knew as "Violet's Mum" with her Zwartbles twins. Now the ewe is all grown up with lambs of her own.

The tips are spending time with this flock until they're clipped. This is Poundland, our pedigree Suffolk.

Johnson - he's John's son, see.

Susan accompanied me.

I always find sunset sheep photography so relaxing.