For the last few weeks I have been out of bed at 6.15am and straight down the garden to look for new lambs. Ewes often give birth at dawn and as my new ewes had never lambed before I was a little nervous. Doris Day is the friendlier of the two; Annie Oakley is a bit on the wild side.
Doris took me completely by surprise, easily producing her lamb just before I left for football at two in the afternoon. He was a fine strong lamb and I managed to get them into the little hut with hay and water, dip his navel in iodine, change my clothes, and still be at Watford in time for the kickoff! I have called him Harry Hornet.
Annie just seemed to get bigger and bigger, and oh how she puffed on the hot sunny days that followed Harry’s arrival. It always amazes me how quickly lambs grow and in the warm sunshine Harry flourished, but he had no one to play with.
Every morning I went straight down the garden convinced Annie would have produced something, but three weeks went by with nothing to show. On Good Friday morning I got up early as usual and, as I was going out early, I put on good clothes. Down the garden and there was Annie straining, but not much was happening. I tried to gently get her into the little shed but she galloped round the pen. I could just make out a couple of little feet coming out and the fluid bag had burst but now she was not trying. I had never had to help with a birth before but I was sure things were not quite right. So, after a game of cat and mouse I managed to get her shut in the shed. Then we nearly knocked the back out of the shed as I finally got hold of her. Not what I intended at all! A gentle exploration and I could feel two feet, but the head was tilted back, not down towards the exit, but it was easy to move. I thought the lamb was dead, but it had to come out so I gave a gentle pull. In the end I had to pull quite hard, but finally he came out… and Baared at me! One live lamb was pulled round to mum’s head and she started to lick it dry. I sat in the corner wondering how it had survived. Then I went to get a pale of water and some hay and when I came back there was another one! No wonder she was puffing. Annie has proved to be a great mum, and three days on she and her twins are doing fine, but I can’t say the same for my best trousers. Nature is a wonderful thing! Wendy Bathurst