Sunday, September 23, 2012

Plans for lambs

Return to university and promotions at work have meant that much as we love developing the pocket handkerchief sized farm it really does have to take a back seat for a few years. This is the sensible decision, and SO and I are known for our carefully thought out, intricately planned and very sensible decisions. Well mostly. Sometimes. Anyway, to that end we decided to forgo breeding the sheep this year. No interrupted sleep to check for lambing, no extra time caring for special cases, no birth interventions that seem like minutes and take all night.

No hours lost just watching lambs play because - its not our fault, oh no - they just have a time warping ability that turns minutes into hours and an afternoon that should be spent on fixing the ute, cleaning the house and doing homework into a lost day doing not terribly much at all. Except laughing. Funny how such wasted hours seem to be rather therapeutic after stressful times despite the ferris-wheel of frustration returning again to the undone tasks.

The thing about plans is that everyone involved should know about them. Apparently someone forgot to tell Wilberforce, our Merino ram, that his services would not be required. When the 1st of April had come and gone, and another week, and another week again, he realised something was up and took matters into his own little cloven feet. I discovered in time that he was not where he should be but fraternising with the entire flock including many of his own daughters. As far as I could tell, he was only there half an hour or so but it was long enough that come August we had three sheep clearly pregnant, two of them untested maiden ewes. On the bright side they were unrelated to him and all seduced on the same day so they should give birth on the same day, and we would be lucky if they all had twins. In theory.

They did give birth within three days of each other (a single day would be much too easy). The one day we both had to be away from the farm with no excuses our kindly lamb-rescuing neighbour looked in and was treated to a display of perfect first-time birthing by Fern at the civilised hour of 1030am over a nice cup of tea. She popped out a pair of healthy lambs, one of each, as did Priscilla. The rest of the time one of us was always home and so the next two ewes made sure of our time and attention being fully utilised, requiring assistance with midwifery at midnight and 3:00 am respectively. We were right about them not all having twins though, after all they were new to this game and so twins were less likely. Instead Narelle produced triplets.