Friday, 17 March 2006

First lambing in Devon (2006)

"It's warmer in Devon - let's lamb a bit earlier this year" has turned out to be somewhat wishful thinking. It snows, it hails, it's as windy as hell, but the lambs have started to arrive all the same. A quarter of the way through and we have had all ewe lambs - how weird is that? Never one for probability theory, I guess that each lamb has a 50/50 chance of being one sex or the other, so I presume that there is no greater probability that the remaining lambs will turn out to be rams. Perhaps the new ram, Toy-boy, has an intriguing chromosomal make-up. The old ram, Thoom (or Tomb? was never given the spelling) was put in with the ewes at the same time as Toy-boy and there is no proof of who did what and to whom. Raddles and all that malarkey seem too much trouble for our small flock. Reading Hardy's Return of the Native can put you off red raddle for life, but it's just a crayon or powder - originally red ochre or iron oxide - that is put on the ram's chest so you can see which ewe has been served and by which ram, using different colours for each ram. Some use a harness to attach a crayon block to the ram, but it all seems rather too S&M to me.
The new mothers are doing their thing admirably, seeing off dogs Mopsa and Fenn in no uncertain terms if they get too close (ie in the same field) and producing huge quantities of milk; I don't know how they manage to walk.

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