Monday, 11 April 2011

The last remaining few are crossing their legs!

Walking into the lambing sheds now is so completely different to what it was even a week ago. The majority of the sheep are now outside and with this beautiful weather you can almost see the lambs growing by the day! A true sign that spring has arrived is seeing the ewes happily munching on the new grass and the lambs skipping and running around in their new green space. Those sheep that are left in the shed are those still remaining to lamb (ten as of today) and those who are still not accepting their lambs for one reason or another and our orphans, we have 9 which feels rather a lot to us, I think we were lucky last year.

Whilst the intensity of lambing has eased there is still a lot to do but at a different pace! It is now the routine of going around and checking everyone outside, making sure they are all bonded well and feeding properly off their Mum's. The farmers markets continue of course and we are getting a lot of orders for Easter so we are busy processing those. New season lamb starts soon so we will keep you posted when that will be ready.

We have had some lovely visitors with us being 'shepherds for the day'. Kinnon and Phil came to visit us from Yorkshire and were lucky enough to witness a set of quads being born! Phil recorded this which is amazing and you can see them in the video clip at the top of this entry. Our visitors last weekend were treated to amazing weather, it felt like a July weekend! We moved some sheep very slowly in the heat and did some much needed fencing. Felix one of our 'shepherds' had worked on a cattle station in Australia so knew all about fencing, everyone was a great help!

The warm weather has meant we have had to keep a watchful eye for fly strike. We would have blogged about this last year. In warm weather flies lay their eggs on the sheeps fleeces, particularly where they might be a bit mucky, the eggs hatch and maggots can start eating the sheep, horrible! So we have already protected our ewe lambs who still have their fleeces on and are particularly vulnerable.

As well as our remaining few ewes who are crossing their legs, we have had some unexpected teenage pregnancies, oops! We castrate our male lambs to prevent this from happening and to protect the taste of our meat from the strength of the testosterone hormone. However, as last year was our first time at attempting castration, one or two obviously didn't have the rubber ring put on correctly over their we have had some extra lambs as a result. They make very good Mum's and all are doing well which is great.

We have had two wonderful vet students working with us over lambing - Nick and Becca. They have been amazing and worked really hard both day and night in some cases. They have risen admirably to all the challenges which lambing throws at you and we wish them all the best for the rest of their training. We will miss their help and Belle will miss them throwing sticks for her!

A very Happy Easter to everyone.

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Boris and Belle

Friday, 1 April 2011

Over half way!

Roly talks about the 'reset' button which is something we are programmed with that automatically switches when you have come through an extraordinary time! I think this happens to women who go through labour and go on to have more children and I think the same happens after lambing! It is an extremely intense time but somehow you ride the wave and come out the other side and move on from the sleepless nights, the ups and the downs and the cycle almost immediately starts again for next year!

The lambing sheds are alive with all the situations which occur during lambing time - an unexpected set of quads (amazing size, doing well), triplets, twins and singles who are at various stages of us trying to adopt a second lamb onto them so the triplet Mums aren't under such strain. Some orphan lambs who are being bottle fed, some weaker lambs who are still with their Mums but just need that bit of extra milk to keep them strong. The overriding atmosphere is still so special that so much new life is being born into the world and it is up to us that they get the opportunity of the best start possible.

We had the first of our open weekends last weekend and welcomed over 3000 visitors! Thank you to everyone who came along and to our friends and family who helped out. We were blessed with the weather and sorry to those who were queuing for a yummy lamb burger as we sold out! Please come back this weekend to have one!

We have also had some wonderful 'shepherds for the day' who have all experienced a typical day with us in the lambing sheds and helped deliver some wonderful lambs. Ben has tweeted about his experience!

Don't forget to let us know if you would like to order some lamb for Easter, we are taking lots of orders already so please let us know asap.

Molly is growing so fast and enjoying her time in the sheds already. Feeding time and all the ewes making a racket sends her off to sleep!

More soon

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Boris and Belle