For those of you with romantic images of Spring surely there will be a bouncy fluffy lamb gambolling about in a field somewhere amongst them. On Church Farm we are expecting well over a hundred new lambs and for this edition of Church Farm News we thought we would catch up with all the lambing activity on the farm.
Some Mothers Do ‘ave ‘em.
At Church Farm lots of mothers are ‘aving ‘em as young lambs are appearing across the fields. We are expecting well over one hundred lambs and in this edition of Church Farm News we are going to look at birth with a focus on the lambs.
It all started on October 31st 2014 when the rams, or male sheep, were let loose into the adjacent enclosure where the ewes, or female sheep, were waiting for them!! It is difficult not to imagine the party that the rams might have had on that evening. For them the hard work would soon be over and they could relax and read the Newspaper while for “mums to be” the hard work had just begun.
For around five months the mum will carry around the developing lamb before a visit from a local specialist with a scanning machine allows the farm to know which ewes are pregnant, which are carrying twins and if we have any triplets due. This makes the preparations for the tricky part, of birth, easier to get ready for and we can buy enough pushchairs and toys.
The birthing pen is set up, (maternity unit), mid wives trained, feeding station stocked and the date set for the first birth on 24th March 2015.
Of course you can prepare as well as you like but nature will sometimes have a surprise in store!!!
The Fabulous Four: The story of the birth of quadruplets at Church Farm.
Modern technology helps in all sorts of ways and we know how many lambs to expect from the entire flock thanks to modern scanning techniques, but for those of you who sometimes follow your sat nav wherever it sends you, things are not always so simple.
Our chief midwife, Charlotte, knew she had done her job of training the midwifery team when the first birth involved not one, not two, not even three different birthing positions but …..four!!!!!!!
Midwife at the time was Rozelle, who in her normal calm and assured manner successfully delivered all four lambs and when asked how she managed she said, “ I just remembered everything Charlotte had taught me.” Not easy when you are elbow deep in sheep and exhausted in the drama of new birth.
So systems appropriately stress tested, we were off and now, a couple of weeks later, we have little lambs all over the place, including all four of the quads, two of whom are being looked after in the stable. This takes place when the mother who only has two teats on her udder is not able to look after any extra lambs, in the case of triplets and of course quads. So Shaun and Sharon were off to the feeding pen.
Five times a day each of the lambs is fed milk from a bottle and in the early stages they have to learn to suck!!! Once they get the hang of it there is no stopping them, and Shaun and Sharon are now very keen to be first to the bottle brought to them by a team of enthusiastic volunteers.
The whole experience is quite lovely and grown men such as the Legendary Ron the Ram Rider have been brought to their knees. One of our work experience students, Adam, remarked on how being involved with a birth was a life changing experience. Chicken Dave is claiming to be a mother and even Darren has shown his softer side.
Of course it is not always easy and successful and the team of midwives that include Gemma, Ann and Alison too have had their difficult moments which can make us all appreciate the wonder of being born.
So do come and join us on the farm and check the website to book for feeding the lambs – a Ewenique experience of awe and wonder.