Saturday, 3 April 2010

All go way out West

Well it's been all go way out here on the West coast of beautiful but wild Scotland.
Thank you Kevan for your concern, which has prompted me to stop neglecting my duties and let you all know what we have been up to during this cold and bitter weather.
We have had quite a few additions to our now ever growing family.
Since I last posted we have had three new calves and up to today we have also had eleven lambs, with three sheep still to lamb.
The biggest surprise was Nelly our Gimmer she gave birth to triplets and is managing to feed them all with out any interference from me.
Although in the beginning I was giving them a little extra milk, they were not suited with me meddling.
You see Nelly has a false teat, but they all dive underneath her and grab what they think are all working milk dispensers, it is really comical watching them play pass the teat, but they seemed to have worked it out for themselves a sort of rota system.
Chirstie was the first to lamb, she had a single female a snob if ever there is such a thing in the sheep world, she is just like her granny Myran, struts round the pen like she is the queen of Sheba.
Chirstie managed without any help from us and her milk must be really good as the queen of sheba has had a couple of wee squeals with constipation.
Nelly was next to go I gave her a little help with the first lamb, she took to it straight away, I went around to the front shed to get the Iodine for the lambs navel, when I came back to the shed there was the second one popped out no bother, both little girls.
After a while we decided to go for a cup of tea to warm the cockles.
When we came back to the shed to admire Nelly's new offspring we were leaning over the gate talking back and forward then noticed a third head poking out from under Nelly's tummy.
How we did not notice in the first place was bewildering as he was as noisy as all of them put together.
So that was it for a couple of late night shifts, three girls one boy.
Then a couple of nights later Sharon and Poppit delivered twins in the early hours, Sharon had two girls, poppit had one of each.
Claire followed suit the next night with two girls also.
Teeny came around to the lambing shed last night of her own accord to let us know she was going to give birth.
She had a little girl too, late last night.
They are all doing well and noisy as anything.
They are developing their own personalities already.
Nelly's little boy has taken to lying on his mums back when she settles down, the only problem is, when she stands up he is not quick enough to get down and stands there on her back screaming like he is scared of heights.
After I numbered them all, ( lambs and mum are spray painted with the same number so they do not get mixed up whilst out in the field) some of them were allowed out yesterday for the first time.
The lambs were running around the field racing each other, jumping in the air and playing tig.
It was a beautiful day yesterday and today was dry but not as warm.
The weather has been really cold and hard on the animals, it has snowed and the ground has frozen. The animals have had to be fed a lot more to keep their energy levels up through the cold weather.
My husband has a lot of work, but cannot up until this past couple of weeks put a stob in the ground because it has been so hard, if he did put stobs in the ground whilst it is freezing, they would just slacken off when it thawed out which would make the fences very slack.
A couple of weeks ago we had a really dry spell which was good for a heath burning, there was plenty of them going on too whilst the opportunity was there, sometimes you cannot afford to hang around these things have to be done as soon as a window comes around, if you hesitate it could be weeks before the opportunity comes back around and then it might be to late.
The weather is so unpredictable, but this year there will be a lot of fresh grass on the common grazing's after the burning, hopefully.
The poor Deer are finding it hard too, they have come down from the hill looking for food.
Some of them look weak, I have noticed that they are fighting amongst themselves also, as they
are in competition for the same blade of grass.
There has been a lot of Deer strikes too on the main road as they search for food.
We had 28 of them cross over our field a few days ago to get to the common grazing.
The cows have been wondering about a lot looking for grass to, the harsh weather has slowed everything down, the grass is not coming yet.
The calves are all doing well, Molly had a beautiful calf she is the spitting double of her great granny, who was a rusty red and white Simmental called Marie Claire.
We have named her after her great granny, her father was a Simmental called Dernean Jacob, he has always, produced beautiful coloured and quick learning calves.
Molly being a first time mother was a little slow on the up take as to how to feed the calf.
We had to sinch her, which entails tying a rope around her middle just above the udder, to stop them kicking either you or the calf, but Molly decided to act like a bucking bronco, she soon settled down.
Nature is a wonderful thing sometimes, Molly's udder was so full it must have hurt, she would have been tender when the calf first sucked, but once the calf relieved her of some milk she calmed down and let her take her fill.
But she was not pleased in the beginning, once the calf had the idea the sinch was released, and away they went mother and baby bonded.
There has been lots of other things going on, but they are stories for later.
I will leave you with some pictures of Nelly and her triplets for you to see what I mean about your own bed.
The queen of Sheba, The proud dad Sandy and one of the heath burnings.


Anonymouse said...

nice to hear that you were just "busy" and boy where you busy (or at least the females of your menagerie were). It is good of you to relate all the wonderful little details that bring the experience to life (excuse the pun).
I wonder if this unusual weather is part of a larger pattern? Over here in Western Maine we had one of the mildest winters I have experienced since living here. This time last year we had three feet of snow still waiting to melt. Today we have had a near 80F day and except for the "skating rink " under the barn there is no sign of snow or winter to be seen,

Marianne at Black Walnut Woolens said...

Greetings from Oregon. We raise a small number of sheep - Romney and Lincoln Longwool. I was wondering what type of sheep you have. Next on the travel list is a visit to beautiful Scotland.
Thank you. Marianne