Those little fluffy clouds with legs you see jumping around and skipping in the spring fields of England. They are a herald for the new season and hopefully the better weather days ahead.
Until I moved back home I hadn’t really spent any time thinking about how much work goes into this time of year for the sheep farmers. I simply enjoyed watching them and gushed over their little waggy tails as they fed.
The Browns my friends Farm whom I have written about before, this time of year is one of the busiest, hardest but also most rewarding. A LOT of work goes into getting the spring lambs to the happy points in the fields you see this time of year. I was again privileged to spend some time with them with my husband at the weekend.
“Ahhh don’t worry I will lamb, you can watch the boxing!”
All joking aside I was certain I wanted to help and although ANY one that knows me will be absolutely shocked to know. I did it. I put my hand into a ewe and helped her birth a perfect little lamb.
Having a farm is pretty much 24/7 anyway but this time of year that’s never more true. Every couple of hours out around the ewes to check that no one is in difficulty or needing help. So like new parents feeding a new born. These farmers are up all through the night no matter what.
For Ian last night that meant while trying to enjoy an evening with friends, he had to work at the same time. I’m pleased we could be on hand to help but we enjoyed a moment of respite from our own office type jobs so you would think the novelty would wear off for the farmers. That’s not true with the Browns. The excitement and joy at every healthy birth is just as exciting, if slightly exhausted.
My husband has of late been helping on the farm, it’s so far from anywork he has done that he is loving learning how the farm ticks. The opportunity for both of us to help out and learn something new was so awesome!
I didn’t even hesitate when he asked, flinging my legs over the fencing into the pen and hands in the ewe following Ian’s clear instructions, five minutes later I am watching a little ball of wool taking its first breath and watching mummy clean and stimulate her baby. A while later he fed and was up and about.
Out again an hour later to top up any lambs not getting enough milk which means hand feeding the little ones until their bellies are full.
Next check at about 2am it was my husbands turn! A man who does not like to get his hands dirty with mud, delivered twins and a rather more challenging experience as twin number two was being difficult. They stayed calm and within ten mins out came number two. Initially a little lifeless but with some help from Ian and mummy ewe he took his first breath. Phew!!
My husband was so overwhelmed by the experience I was a little worried he was going to climb in and sleep in the pen with the babies all night. Haha.
We got to bed me around 3am, my hubby around 4am. We the part timers slept through till 10. Mean while Ian and his dad had been out another two or three times to deliver three sets of triples. One of which was delivered by the Brown’s four year old daughter Florie. She has literally no fear and knows exactly what she is doing!! Arm straight in, lambs out!!
While we had slept Ian had an hours sleep! When we got up he still had the rest of the farm dutys to see to, feeding and moving around the livestock.
If he didn’t do this, if he was wasn’t so conscious and caring for the animals. The amount being lost would be so much higher. The twins my husband delivered and also one of the sets this morning, they needed help. No help and certainly the lambs if not mother too would have died.
I am tired from reduced sleep and excitement. I have no idea how they do this for months solid. It can only be the love and dedication I witness every time we are there. The care that goes into each animal on the farm is so amazing.
So the next time you are driving the countryside admiring those little hoppy lambs frolicking in those fields. Spare a thought for the farmer and his family and the tremendous amount of hard work that goes into the process. Think about what you buy.
ITS SO IMPORTANT TO BE SUPPORTING YOUR BRITISH FARMERS!!!