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The Ups And Downs Of Spring

1st of June 2014

Four little lambs are skipping around at the bottom of the garden now but this year lambing was not without its ups and downs. One of the youngest twin lambs was not finding his mum’s teats properly, preferring to suck on a warty false teat where no milk was coming from. Then his mum got mastitis and nearly died. A couple of visits from the vet and she pulled through, but she was a bit short of milk so I had to help out for a couple of weeks with some extra from a bottle.

The danger of bottle feeding is that the lambs imprint on the bottle giver and not their real mum. At best they grow up thinking they are dogs, at worst they love you so much they want to come indoors! Then they don’t play with the other lambs and cry constantly for the bottle feeder. Very upsetting for the lamb and the feeder. To guard against this I did the feeding in disguise; a long brown overall and my mum’s old rain hat pulled down over my face. Absolutely no cuddling, however cute they may look, and no chatting whatsoever. Just feed and go! Their mum had some milk and was there to call them and snuggle up to at night and after two weeks she was able to manage by herself. So now four well-adjusted lambs run races and skip and bound about, just as nature intended.

On my morning sheep and chicken round last week, I noticed a bird’s egg on the grass. It had a hole pecked in the side where a magpie had eaten the contents. It was slightly bigger than a pigeon’s egg, very pale blue with brown splodges. I did not recognise it so I took it home and got the bird’s egg book out. I was surprised to find it was a sparrow hawk’s egg. I would not have thought a magpie was quite that brave but they are masters at finding nests and stealing eggs. I don’t know where the nest was but I often find piles of feathers where the hawks have plucked one of my garden birds .I don’t mind when they take pigeons, there are plenty of those, but I am not so keen when it has one of my blue tits, but everything has to make a living. This time the biter was bit!
Wendy Bathurst

This page is edited by Tony

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