Rails Farm 2018 lambing season
Lambing season 2018 at Rails Farm
Jade, Christoph’s favourite ewe
Jade gave birth to three lovely and cute lambs, two boys and one girl. The grey katmoget is a boy and is called Bandit. The sleepy black one on the left of the picture is called Dope because of his extremely relaxed behaviour. The lively black one investigating mum’s ear is the girl and her name is Polly. This is because Gaby received a chocolate Easter sheep, called Polly from her mum. Obvious you might say but name choices do not always make sense.
A closer shot of Dope. Isn’t he cute and sweet looking. From tomorrow we can cuddle him because by then mum and lambs have bonded and they know how to feed themselves. I cannot wait.
Little Bandit a bit closer. He is so tiny. Tomorrow is cuddling time.
We never had triplets before and it turned out that Jade does not produce enough milk to satisfy all three. Polly, the first born and strongest one is taking up almost all the milk produced. Hence we had to bottle feed little Bandit and his brother Dope.
That was still not good enough because the little lambs need their food every hour or so and during the night. Another solution needed to be found and fortunately a local farm supplier delivered the necessary equipment, a lamb milk bar.
Both Dope and Bandit can now drink whenever they need to, during day and night. The only thing we have to do is to ensure that we keep the milk bar properly filled. Look at them how they enjoy the new provision. Isn’t Bandit cute enjoying his drink.
The most amazing thing is that after Jade and her three little ones left their shelter and went outside, Jade managed to direct her little ones back to the shelter and therefore back to the milk bar whenever they needed to refuel and during the nights. We always think sheep are dumb but that proofs that my Jade is a really clever mum.
Here they are again, Dope and Bandit relaxing at the edge of their shelter possibly after a snack at the milk bar.
Ebony (Tara’s daughter) and her two lambs
Ebony choose the lovely sunny weather and gave birth at lunch time on Saturday 14th April. She managed everything by herself and delivered two lovely boys, Bobby and Buttercup. It was Richard’s wish to call the katmoget one Bobby and Chloe wanted to name the black boy Buttercup.
And here they are, left Bobby and right Buttercup. Fortunately only twins and we do not have to do any bottle feeding or additional feeding. Ebony is coping very well and both came to this world far stronger than Dope and Bandit. They are currently residents of the shelter and will be let out tomorrow and can enjoy all the others and probably start playing with Polly, Dope and Bandit.
These pictures show all three happily after only two hours. Compare this with us humans, we need years to get to the point of standing up, walking and eating.
What a lovely family. These five arrivals have now increased our live stock about 25%. If the other five pregnant ladies deliver another ten lambs their dad can be really proud of himself.
Blanche and her two babies
Blanche decided to keep us awake and gave birth by about 5 o’clock in the morning. We don’t know the exact time because when we checked at 3 am, as we did every night, she was still on her own. However checking three hours later, at 6 am, Ferdinand and Floyd were born. Unfortunately, Ferdinand, who was tiny and weak to start with, rolled into a small ditch next to the electric fence. So Blanche focussed entirely on her second son Floyd. Gaby picked both up and carried them to the sheep shelter, followed by a heavily complaining Blanche. Now the worries started. Ferdinand was too weak to stand and to suck from his mum’s udder. What to do? Of course the first thing is to give him the kickstart ( Molasses & Vitamins) . That will last only for a short time because what he really needs is fairly fatty milk from his mum (colostrum) or an artificial replacement. Ferdinand didn’t like any of those. He just did not manage to suck the bottle properly and gave up far too quickly, i.e. did not get enough food into his little tummy. After hours of repeated and unsuccessful attempts to feed him we needed another solution. The long feared and very unpleasant method of direct feeding via a red rubbery and fairly long tube, to be inserted into his small stomach via his oesophagus, not to be mixed up with his trachea (windpipe). Gaby tried a couple of times but was too scared to insert into his trachea and hurt him severely. Hence, we decided to drive a short distance to a very experienced sheep farmer, little Ferdinand in Gaby’s arms. He inserted the red tube into little Ferdinand’s oesophagus so expertly and quickly that he hardly recognised what happened to him. Now we could insert 40ml of Colostrum into his stomach so that this little fellow could build up some strength to find his mum’s milk supply. Hurray he managed after a couple of hours and we could relax that our little boy survived.
Now look at them. Ferdinand looks rather like a goat sitting on his mum in the nice lush grass of the field.
Look at Floyd, he smiles. Isn’t that great, a smiling lamb.
Floyd is the only really light coloured lamb we got this year. We will keep him as a new ram for next year hopefully transferring his genes to the next generation.
I think they are a beautiful trio. Blanche has a fantastic thick fleece. We hope that Floyd inherited both colour and quality and Ferdinand the quality and whatever colour.
Tara with April and Myles
Tara’s births were the easiest and unproblematic ones you can imagine. At 9 o’clock in the morning within half an hour everything was done and dusted. Both lambs found immediately mum’s milk bar and filled themselves up with high quality Colostrum. And here they are.
Both are dark brown and they were absolute whoppers with 4 kg of mass, i.e. double that of some of the other lambs.
Hilde (Jade’s daughter) with her two boys Charlie and Tommy
Hilde is a first time mum and gave birth at probably 2 o’clock in the middle of the night. When Gaby checked all sheep at 3 o’ clock both boys were already born and well. We waited for both lambs to have their first meal and then, by 3.45 am, it was time to get mum and her babies into the shelter. This seemed to be a very difficult task for Hilde. As soon as we picked up her little ones to move them towards the shelter Hilde got confused and turned around in a circle trying to find her lambs. Hence, we had to sat them down again for her to realise that they are not gone. The second attempt was successful but Gaby had to hold both lambs constantly at the height of Hilde’s head in front of her. I tried to carefully light the way towards the shelter. Finally at about 4.15am all were in the shelter, Hilde got sheep nuts and water and the two little ones were treated with iodine to disinfect their umbilical chord.
Aren’t they looking cute both sleeping in front of their mum?
Little Charlie looking over her mum’s back.
Pippi gave birth to two gorgeous girls, Poppy & Trudy
This penultimate birth put our patience to the test. She started showing signs by about 9’clock on Friday (27th April) evening when our friend left to have an early night. We felt exactly the same and really wanted a rest. However, Pippi told us differently. After waiting for an hour with Pippi and trying to convince her to move into the shelter we went back into the house. After one and a half hours we went back out, tried again and again without success. We went to bed but set the alarm clock to 1 o’clock and still nothing. Next alarm clock setting for 3 o’clock and ‘Hurray’ she successfully gave birth to two happy girls. Next problem, having the first essential drink. Pippi’s teats were so enormous that the girls did not manage to find them. Another half an hour and they finally drunk and received their essential first meal. Again in the dark with the flood light leading mum and babies into the sheep shelter. Fortunately, Pippi was fine following us, both of us carrying one little lamb. We finally went to bed at about 4.45am and set the alarm clock for 7 o’clock to check their status quo. Hurray they were fine and we could go back to bed. We both felt completely knackered and slept for three hours like in the old days when we were without children and came back from a boozy night.
And here they are.
E.B. and her two girls, Nellie & Daisy
E.B. was very kind to us and gave birth yesterday (Saturday 28th April) at about 5pm. Here she is, cleaning her two youngster after they were born.
That was wonderful news for us. It meant that we can sleep through a whole night again. The night walks came to an end sanity is coming back to Gaby and myself. It really drains your energy when you set your alarm clock for 3 o’clock every night. Gaby was of course the toughest of the two of us. She had to get dressed every night and walked across the fields to find the pregnant ladies. Thank god that we are allowed to enjoy a whole nights sleep again.
The two girls trying to bite into the sheep shelter. That’s what you do isn’t it?
Daddy – Stalbridge
And here he is the Daddy of them all, our lovely Stalbridge. So little, just one year old and already Daddy of so many healthy lanbs. Not bad for such a little fellow. Congratulation to you for being the father of 15 youngsters, nine boys and six girls. Stalbridge you can be proud of yourself.