The farm is very quiet. We are now waiting for the arrival of Pokey's piglets which are due in the next couple of weeks so I will keep you all posted on how she is getting on. Now that my sister is back from South Africa, all the chickens and rabbits have returned home and very happy to have the freedom of the garden once again.
Yesterday I took my three children to visit a friend’s farm in East Meon to see their lambs. It has been a very tough year for sheep farmers. The wet winter has encouraged the spread of diseases such as the liver fluke, (which is a flatworm that goes into the sheep's tummy), plus the icy temperatures during March and the beginning of April have made it especially hard for the lambs to survive.
During the lambing season, if the mother of a newborn lamb dies then the farmer will try to put the new born on a ewe (female sheep) that has lost a lamb herself. To encourage the ewe to adopt (raise as her own) the lamb, they will rub it in her afterbirth so that it smells of her scent. Alternatively, they take the hide (skin) off the dead lamb and place it over the new lamb. She will then be more likely to accept it as her own. Those that don't get adopted by another ewe will be hand reared by the farmer and his helpers.
Within Tina and Matt's barn there are a number of adorable lamb orphans (lambs with no mother) that are just three weeks old. In the height of the lambing season, that barn would have held 400 ewes, each preparing to deliver their new borns at anytime. It must have been chaos! (See video above).
Each of the orphan lambs are hand fed with bottles, although they also have feeding tanks with artificial teats so a few can be fed at one time. In the next week or so, sheep nuts will be introduced and eventually they will be put out into the fields with the rest of the sheep to enjoy the spring grass.
We also met another character in the barn called Jeremy but I will tell you all about him later on in the week.
Enjoy the sunshine, which apparently is on the way as of tomorrow!