Monday, March 05, 2007

Did I write this post last year? Groundhog day 2 - edited lowlights. The Book of Job, Part Two, chapter one.

Every year we say we are gonna be ready for lambing this year. Then something happens and of course we're not.
So last night it was probably the wettest and windiest night of the year. I checked the sheep at about five and there was this one ewe looking a bit iffy. So about ten I thought I'd better go out and check her. Struggled over to the barn and put my waterproofs on and set off down to the field. The battery in the torch didn't have much life left in it so I walked in the dark as much as possible.
Got to the field and it was like walking in a puddle of water. The wind was wild as hell and the rain was stinging my face, and needless to say I was having one of my all too regular 'what the fuck am I doing' moments. I knew where she would be so I set off down the field to the furthest away point and guess what, she had a lamb. There was no way it would survive out in that weather so I picked it up and slowly made my way back up the field getting the ewe to follow by putting the lamb down every five metres or so for her to catch up.
At the top of the field I have to somehow get the ewe through a gate into a small paddock next to the barn. The wind is blowing so hard I could hardly open the gate. So I put the lamb on the ground the other side of the gate, held the gate open and tried to get her to go through to her lamb. A whole bunch of sheep were there and I had no idea which was the mum - in the end a couple went through and I had to take a chance that one of them was the right one. I shut the gate and carried on my way. Got the lamb to the top of the paddock but by now the ewe had lost interest. So now I tried to catch the ewe. After chasing her around for a bit I caught her and dragged her up to where the lamb was. I picked up the lamb in my other hand and struggled to the shed.
Getting them in the shed was another massive drama but anyway, I managed it and shut the door on them and went back down the field to find the torch. When I got back the sodding ewe had taken off out the back of the shed and the lamb was all on its own freezing cold. I dried it off with a towel and put it in a load of hay to keep it warm and went off after the ewe. Of course I wasn't even sure it was the right ewe either, in fact it was looking like it almost certainly wasn't.
Caught the ewe again and had a look at her back end to see if there were any signs of the birth and yes, this was the right ewe, so back up the paddock we went. By now I was pretty knackered and seriously promising myself that I would be moving into a small semi in town shortly. Got her to the shed and at last Sarah turns up to see what's going on.
We get them penned but by now the lamb is starting to give up a bit. We try to get him to suck some colostrum off the ewe but he really isn't up to it, so we decide to give him some artificial colostrum to get him going. Get to the shed to see if we have any left over from last year and find that rats have knawed through the container and eaten the lot. So Sarah sets off over the valley to pick some up from our friends place. I go in to heat some water and as I put the kettle on we have a power cut. I search for the candles in the dark and eventually get a bit of light on the subject. Get some water boiled and set off back down to the barn.
Sarah meets me there a few minutes later and we manage to stomach tube 60ml of warm colostrum down the little bastards neck.

***
6.30 this morning. The rain has stopped and it is a glorious day. Go down the barn and there the little fucker is happily sucking away on his mother. Awwwww!
Any farmers reading this and thinking, 'what a shambles', Bollocks to you.

9 comments:

  1. And similar wishes to anyone reading anything other than a farmer going about his business into the section about Tom chasing a ewe round a field.
    It was a ewe - nothing wrong with our Tom, oh no!
    I had a similarly stressful day. Went to visit someone and left my torch at home, and had to walk about 15 yards in the dark.

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  2. Well, after the high winds last night I looked out of the window this morning to find out that our already rotting fence is completely f*cked.

    Anyone got a number for a good fence fitter?

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  3. awwwww. you are so sweet, i bet all the ewes swoon when you walk by...

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  4. Oh Tommy, if I didn't love you before, I do now!! What a sweet man you are, to go through all of that for a little lamb. Big smooches sweetie.

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  5. Glad ewe are still blogging.

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  6. Ewe see, Tom, this is exactly why you're still dragging yourself to the blog, to share little moments of wonder and specialness with us like this. There's very little more heart-warming than a seeing a tiny new lamb guzzling away, is there. Takes me right back to my childhood...

    Good stuff, chum, don't give up on us yet.

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  7. Still going well, nine ewes done, 33 to go. My friend over the valley does 400 ewes, god knows how he does it - I am on my knees already.

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  8. Vicus: What is a "torch" to you Brits? Snickering here....

    Tommy, that's great about your ewes. I don't know whether to say "congratulations" or "hey, whadda you know."

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