15 March 2019

Penny's Favourite (And Other Lambs)

Lambing has well and truly begun on the farm now. Apart from an early lamb a few weeks ago, there had been no activity - until Monday, that is. On Monday three ewes lambed outside and we spent the morning bringing them in as Storm Gareth was fast approaching. The following day several more ewes had lambed! Emma was on hand to help bring the ewes and their new lambs in from the fields.

Meanwhile, in the lambing shed, some lambing was finally happening. As we arrived in the morning to check on Penny and Bob and feed the pet lambs, Penny was lying down. Emma and I rushed over to find that Penny was in the middle of giving birth to a black lamb. The lamb was halfway out, in a bag of amniotic fluid. If we hadn't been there, the lamb would have drowned. As it was I jumped in to break the bag away from the lamb's nose and pull it out the rest of the way. It was alive, a good little female.

Penny was so trusting, she didn't even have to be restrained - she just lay there and let me help her. The second lamb was a little way back but with some encouragement to push, Penny had gotten the legs within reach of my fingers and I helped to deliver a second, absolutely huge, black female. A panicking Bob was removed from the pen (the poor fella had no idea what was happening and tried to jump out of the pen) and Penny started talking to her new babies. The sound was music to my ears.

My dad arrived and we got on with a few other jobs... and then Emma noticed something. Sure enough there were a pair of feet sticking out of Penny! We jumped in to assist again and this time Emma pulled out the lamb - a black male. Triplets! I was gobsmacked - it never even occurred to me that Penny would have triplets! She set about cleaning them all up and Emma snapped a few pictures.

So say hello to Beatrice (Bea), Bridget and Bruce.

Image source: @emzjewel.

With Storm Gareth bearing down on us that afternoon, we gathered in all of the pregnant ewes. Everyone with a decent elder and a chance of lambing soon was brought inside. The next day several ewes had lambed indoors and Emma was back to help as well - at least this time we were sheltered from the storm as we sorted ewes and lambs!

Even though Penny is a big ewe with lots of milk, she couldn't raise three lambs without some help. I decided the best thing for Bruce was for him to go home with Emma as I had enough work on my plate. She also went home with a teeny tiny little lamb that was rejected by its mother. So far the boys are doing good.

Yesterday there was no Emma, but fortunately less lambing. We can keep up with ewes and care for lambs better if they don't all lamb at once. There was further upheaval in Penny's pen, though - she wasn't fond of Bea, the smallest of the two girls. She was letting her get some milk, but hitting her a bit too. So Bea is now in my kitchen, along with a Suffolk and two very stubborn Mules who I'm struggling to get to suck from a bottle.

Penny is now left with one lamb, her favourite.

Miss Bridget, who has inherited her mother's expressive eyes.

The neighbours are still the pet lambs.

Penny loves this lamb and it's thriving on all of that milk.

Meanwhile, the other ewes and their lambs are bonding in the individual pens. This lamb is just lazy.

A pretty Mule.

Something not mentioned often, but Mule noses are really soft.

Sleepy Mule baby.

Another sleepy lamb.

The lamb's mum was keeping a close eye on me.

A beautiful little Mule family.


Another look at the "lazy lamb", a nice Kerry Hill cross.

And a final look at Bridget because I am in love.

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