Sunday, March 18, 2012

Twins On Mother's Day ..... At Last More Lambs!

The Mother's Day Twins
Well it's 00.38 according to this phone I'm typing tonight's blog on and I'm in the stable once again keeping an eye on the sheep that I am convinced are about to lamb. I wouldnt expect any activity just yet though as I've been convinced one girl has been about to lamb for the past 8 days! I have religiously sat with them in the dark with my torch waiting patiently expecting a new arrival but have returned to bed freezing cold in the early hours with nothing to tell apart from frostbite! And tonight seems to be no different. I think Its becoming an obsession! I have now upped my game and have decided that the floor is no place for lamb  watching and have pulled Kyle's old buggy out of storage and as I type sat in it I feel it was quite a good idea! I just hope noone catches me huddled in said pushchair as it may look more than strange to the normal eye! I sit for 3 hours but decide nothing is going to happen tonight!

So it's another night back in the stable, maybe more lambs tonight! It's 11.30 and I've just come in to see if any of the girls have taken themselves away from the flock to find a bit of peace and quiet which is a sign they are about to lamb and I've found 2 in here. The one I've been watching for over a week now and another girl who I sensed was not too far off lambing. I have given them some hay which they have both eaten and now they have found corners in the shed and are lying down panting - I've begun to learn this doesn't mean anything is about to happen straight away!!

I'm sitting comfortably in the buggy again and am waiting patiently. I'll stay till about 3am and then make a decision as to whether my bed is the best option! I think both of the sheep in here with me tonight are having twins because of pure size but not opting to scan for pregnancy means I can never be 100% sure. The twins born 2 weeks ago will need their tails docked tomorrow and I will need to castrate the boy which is a sad realisation that he will not live out his days here at Nunnery Farm but will instead be for meat. Anywau, enough for tonight - once again I see no signs of any lambs so I am off to bed!

It's Mother's Day today and I've decided to check how things are with the sheep. I need and to dock the tails of the twins. I decided I wouldn't castrate the boy on the same day as I docked his tail due to limiting the stress so once his tail has settld down I will castrate him. I set off down the field to do my job and check all was well when I found Ivy in labour at the bottom of the field. The front hooves of a lamb were already visible. She did extremely well and after a short time gave birth to a beautifully marked boy! She cleaned him up and then walked away so I was pretty sure another was on its way. I was right because she then gave birth to another boy. He is pure white.

Ivy is doing well, she has cleaned both boys and they are currently down at the bottom of the field having a rest in the sunshine. They are both feeding and so as far as I am concerned there shouldn't be any problems with them!

Dave The Lamb Meets The New Twins!

2 down 4 to go!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Not One But Two New Arrivals at Nunnery Farm

This morning I went out to check on the sheep and noticed Violet  was by herself and as soon as I saw her I knew she had lambed. When I got there I saw a little white lamb next to her which I scooped up and told Violet to come with me and we set off for the stables to get her settled into the comfy straw bed so she could have a rest and so I could make sure both Violet and Baby Violet were ok.

 The lamb was female and very small. I had a funny feeling that Violet may have a  touch of mastitis so I tried to put the lamb on her to feed and it just wasn't going very well. I left them to it and got ready to go the vets for some antibiotics to give to Violet and the lamb should the mastitis get any worse. If the lamb starts to feed normally sometimes the swelling can reduce and things are ok. I have found that it is when the milk is not being stripped that mastitis can set in and mean taking the lamb from her and hand rearing which seemed a shame because she was such a good mother last year.

 Then I heard a sound - another lamb bleating - Violet had had twins but where was the other one?  I started searching all around the field, the place where she had given birth to the other lamb, in the stream, under the bushes and practically everywhere. I thought I may have imagined the noise and then tucked up next to the stables in a dark corner I found this one!

 A little boy black from head to toe, completely the opposite to his sister! I put him in with Violet and his sister and went off to get my supplies to treat them with should things not go to plan (as most things at Nunnery Farm tend to do!). My experience with Dave and Poppy last year meant that I was taking no chances this year and wanted to have everything to hand should I need it. 

When I got back I was armed with orphan milk to feed them with just in case Violet abandoned them, some penicillin to sort out Violet's mastitis, some colostrum for the twins and some antibiotics to inject them just in case they were not able to get that all important first milk from mum but the good news is that all was well in the stable and both lambs are feeding from mum now and settled down for the evening and both the new lams and Violet are happy and having a nice rest before going out in the field in a day or so.

I am now on official lamb watch and will be doing my rounds during the night with the torch so maybe tomorrow there will be some more new additions to the Nunnery Farm Flock!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Ups and Downs at Nunnery Farm in 2011

Now as those that have been following me in my attempts at moving ever closer to partial self sufficiency, which is to grow fruit and vegetables to accompany the free range meat I already produce, will already know that Dave the Lamb lost the plot last year and thwarted my attempts good and proper.

 For those that don't, Dave the Lamb was one of last year's lambs that I hand reared in the house after his mother died after giving birth to him and his twin Poppy who sadly I didn't manage to save. Dave was one of the porliest lambs I have ever dealt with and I fully expected to lose him too. Dave, however, had other ideas and is alive and well on Nunnery Farm. In fact Dave has become somewhat of a local celebrity as he always comes with me on the dog walks around the valley and has been known from time to time to accompany me in the Landrover! Dave's problem is he has no idea he is a lamb!

Dave would go out in the garden as he was slowly getting better and would always be with me during the day outside developing the veg patch and all was well. I imagined chutneys and fruit wines. Dave however had other plans which included eating everything in site and if he didn't like the taste of something he would make his bed in it. Dave the Lamb went berserk. It was so late on in the year when he did this (just as everything was getting ready to be eaten by ME!) that I actually thought I would have very little to show for my efforts at the end of the year. I am happy to say I was totally wrong!

The plants grew back in no time, my strawberries and raspberries grew in abundance, I couldn't move for blackberries, the hens laid plenty of eggs, in fact we got so much out of the veg patch that I couldn't have been more pleased.

This year I have already started outside and will tell you about that again but I intend to leave out the things I didn't make much use of and replace them with more of what I did. When the year ended I had made so much fruit vodka I thought it would last me a lifetime  and I was certain that Christmas would be a very merry one indeed.


The meat I produced on the farm last year meant that I did not buy a single piece of lamb, pork or beef. The sausages were split into 3 flavours pork/leek, pork and spicy pork which unfortunately other people have now discovered and my stocks have depleted!! 

I made lots of chutney and I still have lots left so at last I have a little home produce larder and have a small pile just aging nicely.. Unfortunately I didn't manage to save any of the vodka and considering the amount I produced is a little bit of a concern - I will simply have to make more this year!

 Dave the Lamb was forgiven and still spends his days playing with the dogs and joins in chasing the cats and he still gets into bother. The dogs are ok, the cats are still going and Kyle who is 2 now is having the time of his life and becoming quite the farmer!

This year I will produce twice as many vegetables and twice as much to drink - well, that's the plan!