Friday, 9 February 2007

Meet Norah Batty

Back to the first lambing. After the awful experience of losing our first lamb I had to hope that it could only get better. The second ewe Number two [Iknow, but the names do get better] had twin lambs without any problems.

The book said that we needed to provide Bonding Pens for the ewes and their lambs, small pens to allow the ewe and lamb to get to know each other, where they stay for 24/48 hours, and it allows you to make sure that the lamb is feeding okay.

The book said we could make temporary pens using straw bales, so this is what we did making the pen in an open fronted garage next to the paddock where we had the ewes overnight. We carried the twin lambs to the pen with Mum following behind, placed them in the pen and pulled the bales across the front of the pen. Unfortunately Number two had not read the book, she jumped straight out of the pen knocking the bales down at the same time and took off with her lambs back to the other ewes in the Paddock!!!! We left her to bond in her own way which she did. In fact we managed without bonding pens for those first lambs, with such small numbers you only need them if you have problems with either ewe or lamb. For subsequent lambings we constructed more permanent pens. I think the book had been written for well behaved English sheep not their more bolshie Gallic cousins!!!!

Now to meet Norah Batty. The third ewe to lamb was in the middle of the night. We were out in the Paddock and not for the first or last time with a torch in one hand and the book in the other. The lamb was presented with the Head and one leg. The book says to try and find the other leg but the lamb can be delivered with just the one leg. I tried to find the other leg but with my very limited knowledge I couldn't bring it forward. So we decided to deliver it as it was. It never ceases to amaze me the force you can apply to a lamb or ewe without causing any damage. The ewe could not deliver the lamb hersalf so we had to get it out before it died. I used all my strength but it was not enough, so the OH applied himself to the lamb while I held onto the ewe. Eventually with a satisfying plop the lamb came out, she was a big lamb with very wrinkly legs hence her name, Nora Batty was born and she is still with us . Unfortunately her mother Mrs. Batty had problems in later life and is in the big pasture in the sky.

We had one other set of twins that lambing and they were a right pair of bruisers, two males that we called the Kray twins so obviously the ewe became Mrs. Kray and she is still with us aswell.

The other ewes lambed with very little help from us and from the 8 ewes we had a total of 9 live lambs. Some of the ewes were already becoming characters, and of the original 8 ewes we still have 3 of them [Number one, Number two and Mrs Kray] plus of course Norah Batty. They are living a peaceful retirement after very faithful service.

My career as a shepherd had started and I was already hooked.


Caroline said...

Love the names. Can I please name a lamb????? Please ... Can you tell which is which?


liz fenwick said...

Your bravery amazes me!!! I don't think I could ever do these things in my wildest dreams.

Love the names too :-)