I can't believe how tired I am, and lambing has only started and there are just a couple of dozen ewes to deal with; how friends with 500 manage, I can't even start to imagine. Either way, you're in and out of the lambing shed like some crazed self-winding clockwork toy, checking behaviour, changes in eating patterns, signs of water bags, general atmosphere, and topping up one set of triplets with bottled milk as their first time mum hasn't really got enough of her own. Neither me nor far more experienced farmers I know have ever come across a first-timer having triplets - what was she thinking? Luckily the lambs are evenly sized and full of energy and survival instinct, so no larger bully is benefiting over the others.
Mini and major dramas are enacting themselves all over the place. The first batch of incubated goose eggs are starting to pip, so I am hoping there may be goslings under the heat lamp in a couple of days. One of the geese is sitting on her own full nest, au naturale, as proud and protective as can be. An Aylesbury duck suffered from a prolapse of the oviduct, so she has been dispatched, plucked and is in the freezer, my clean lambing Dickies boilersuit now covered in white down. A ewe gave up trying to lamb after some sterling effort, and intervention brought out one malformed lamb that had blocked the cervix causing another perfectly good lamb to die, leaving the mum with one good healthy ram (this run of triplets is ridiculous - that's three sets so far). Saddest of all, the matriarch, Mrs Longtail, succumbed to pasteurellosis, something the flock had never suffered from until last year when two ewes were also lost to it in the final stages of pregnancy. They are all vaccinated against this lethal pneumonia, have been well fed and are in a well ventilated barn, but you can't avoid the inevitable stress to the body caused by lambing or stop cold windy weather. I'll have to discuss future planning with the vet.
My old cat is getting scrawnier, but still eating, drinking, purring, strolling, mock-hunting, and as you can see, happy to share a bed with Mopsa on a filthy welly-boot dirt strewn kitchen floor. And I am off to check on the ewes, again.