Although many lambs have already arrived on other farms, I follow the traditional calendar, putting the ram with the ewes on the fifth of November so lambing begins on the first of April. I did miss that by a few days so my lambs should begin arriving tomorrow. Of course, it is all unpredictable and I will be checking through the night.
This last month we have been getting ready. The five young highland steers finally rejoined the rest of the cattle after a cosy few months getting fat in the shed.
Archie spent a long day cleaning out the smelly bedding, then spraying down and disinfecting. He had the shed spotless, ready for the ewes.
Meanwhile we vaccinated the ewes and all the rest of the Portlands with Heptavac P which prevents some nasty diseases. The also needed worming.
I had all the ewes crutched. A local lad came and sheared them around their backsides and tails. It helps me see what is going on and they don’t get as messy during the birthing process.
We then moved them down to the farmyard and they settled into the small field behind the barn for a couple of days, before finally wandering into their very clean and cosy lambing shed.
The grass has been growing and I hate mowing the lawn. Archie set up some electric fencing and we brought down four one year old ewe lambs to stay in our front garden for a while. It was all going so well until the friskiest of the group got a mild shock and then proceeded to fight back, attacking the fencing. They all bolted out and had a lovely time racing around the garden and around to the back of the house. After some frantic chasing we managed to corner them. They were popped into the empty dog kennel, we returned three to the re-set fenced area and put the wild one back to the field. There has been no more trouble and I think the three rather enjoy their position observing all the comings and goings around the house. They are doing an amazing job eating the grass and we’ll expand their territory as the days go by.
Jo Stover has daily adventures on her small farm, together with her Highland cattle and Portland sheep, bees, a few hens, dogs, and some two-legged family and friends.