Lambing officially (i.e. 21 weeks after we put the tups to the ewes in early October) starts tomorrow, but when I went out for the dawn patrol this morning, I came across these two lovely lambs wandering around near the big round hay bale feeders. Luckily their mother was near them and I could easily spot her because of the blood around her back-end. But what was more worrying was that they were being licked and nuzzled by another ewe: we call them ‘aunties’ – and they’re a right pain. They’re more obsessive than the real mothers and if not taken away they will eventually cause mums to reject their own lambs, simply because all the licking by the auntie removes their own smell – and smell is a very important way of binding ewes and lambs together at this early stage. Later on, we’ve noticed, that sound – quiet bleating – becomes more effective.
Anyhow, I sprayed the lambs’ navels with iodine and penned them up with their mother. Next I checked her milk on both sides. And it was fine: nice and thick and creamy (watery milk is a very bad sign). Finally, after a rather Rugby football -like series of moves, I managed to catch-up the auntie and pen her securely. I’m afraid she’ll have to be penned-up until she lambs. We can’t risk her licking any more lambs – which experience has shown, she’ll do.
Then I took the photo and wrote this post. And now I feel like a big farmhouse breakfast.