We’re rapidly approaching Summer, but it’s still spring like on the farm with new babies appearing by the day. Both cattle and sheep are dragging out the usual lambing and calving season. Usually lambing for our farm is March, with calving mainly from the end of January to early March. Obviously the timings were a bit off this year, especially as there were a couple of calves born way back in September!
Sheepwise, N’s 10 pregnant ewes were some of the last to give birth. With my brother in law looking after N’s sheep along with his own, leaving them til last means his are done by that stage.
So the last few weeks we’ve had a few random sheep in the back field – sick ones, or the one of N’s that wasn’t pregnant. The odd balls basically. But gradually N’s lambs and their mums have been brought into the field. They’ll stay there until they’re a bit bigger and can be moved out with some of the others in a busier field.
N loves them being in ‘his’ field. It means every morning he’s meant to count them up to check they’re all there. This usually means him stopping me driving off to school in the mornings so he can count them before we leave.
I just love seeing the little lambs jumping all over the place enjoying themselves. We have a real mix in there too – a couple of black sheep, one with a white lamb, the other a black lamb (both called ‘Lamby’ by N, he’s nothing but original). Then there’s another black lamb with a white mother, while the others are all white.
The other day a new lamb and mother were put out in the field. The lamb was only 10 minutes old, and was so cute. It really had no idea what it was doing, I guess being born 10 minutes previously and then straight away getting put out in the field makes them even more dozy! It soon found its way to feed and is happily getting stuck in with its new friends.
The field is now also home to a few cows being turned out. The troublesome ones – those that are usually harder to calf, stay indoors for a bit longer, or those they want in with the bulls. The ones in the field are those who’ve only just calved, or are due any day. It’s nice to see them roaming around and they really do look well looked after with shiny coats despite not having been outside for the winter.
The other day N and his cousin were playing in the garden and I’d wandered out to take some photos. Then we heard an almighty bellowing from various cattle and they all went galloping off up the field. I’d never seen them do that, they’re usually chilled out until weaning time. So I followed them across to see one had just given birth and the calf was still on the ground.
Next thing the cows who’d run over started prodding the calf with their noses and feet, then pushed it around across the grass. I was a bit concerned about this poor newborn calf, but the mother wasn’t being aggressive in pushing away the others like they usually do. Eventually the others wandered off leaving only the mother and another cow with the calf.
I could see the calf’s ears flickering, the other cow gave one more nuzzle then moved away leaving the mother to lick her calf and try and encourage it to stand. It finally wobbled up, staggered a bit in that cute newborn way they have, then nuzzled around its mum before sitting down again. Later on I saw it standing and feeding so it obviously got the hang of it pretty quickly.
It was so interesting seeing the way these cows obviously went over to help the mum encourage her calf – something I’d not expected to see. Although it looked violent as a bystander, it’s great to see how nature works when the animals do it all themselves.
I did feel for it though, only a couple of hours after it was born and there was a downpour, so the poor thing probably had a bit of a shock. It’s happy enough now wandering around the field with its mum.
Lambing and calving time is one of the best times on the farm – it’s lovely to see the newborn animals and their mums all turned out in the fields and provides something new to learn each time.
Have you been to any lambing events this year? Have you ever seen anything like this before?
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