Saturday, 3 April 2010
Shep’s away night lambing. 1st April was the date and off I headed over the Scottish Borders to lamb Cheviot sheep in a shed. Cheviot sheep in lamb to a Suffolk tup.
These sheep get out during the day and are usually only housed on darkening. However the inclement weather of late and the fact this area had suffered a good 6 inches of snow meant the ewes had been held in the shed for a number of days.
I don’t rightly like lambing in a shed but it’s the season and work is needed. I am also tiring of lambing at nights, although my choice of nights has a sound reason. I find there are too many distractions during the day time, people coming and going and on the odd occasion too many chiefs.
At night you’re on your own and can concentrate on the job in hand.
I wasn’t exactly rushed off my feet on my first night shift, but then as I am lambing a very small flock I never will be. The days of lambing 2,000 ewes seem distant, in those days it was usual to have 70 – 100 ewes lamb at night (there were two of us!) I had the grand total of 7 on my first night! Hence the chance to get these photos.
And so, one of the seven I had lambed on me. It was a bitterly cold night, hard frost. The ewes lambed throughout the night at a steady pace (as 7 would!) Thief's were on the go, ewes yet to lamb who think it would be a lot easier to pinch someone else’s lamb than have one themselves. These are highly frustrating sheep and can cause a great deal of trouble, if they succeed in pinching a lamb often the true mother wont have it back, she no longer recognises it as hers – not a favourable scenario. You need to keep your wits about you when these thieving sheep are on the go.
Morning dawned and I had a chance to regain my sanity by going to the hill to feed the ewes I will be lambing in a fortnight. I waited until the sun got up a bit as the temperature was decidedly chilly, a very hard frost and snow lying all around. It rounds my shift off nicely to go out and see the hill ewes, feed them and check all’s well. I’ll be at my happiest when they come on to lamb and the shed lambing is over.
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