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We're both feeling a bit blue now that the lambs have begun their final journey. The farmer told us this morning that the first lot went to market yesterday and that the price is lower than last year. We observed that the ewes had been shorn on Tuesday which is usually a sign that they are no longer feeding their lambs who have reached the required age and weight to go to market. We had started walking past the fields and telling the lambs to eat less as we could see that they were quickly reaching 40kgs or the 'death' weight.

The fields will be quieter and less interesting without seeing the lambs climbing onto bales of hay and pushing their mates off with a mischievous kick. Our terrier will miss barking at the lambs too.

This year we didn't have a big freeze unlike March 2018 when many new-born lambs died. The odd lamb did succumb to the local fox but luckily this year the lambs were born into a warm Spring which meant they thrived quickly and the crows left them alone. I have seen the crows sit on the fence watching the lambs. As soon as the lamb shows any sign of weakness and falls to the ground dying, the crows don't hesitate to move in for the kill. It is a type of natural selection that many will find upsetting but the farmer will remind you that there there is livestock there is 'deadstock' too.

What I have observed about lambs from living in the countryside:

Some will simply give up as soon as they are born. Farmers tell me there are those lambs that don't try to live and will just give up once out of their mother's womb. There is nothing that can be done for them.

Lambs can survive extreme cold but will struggle in the first two weeks of their lives. The ewes will do their best to keep the lambs alive and the entire herd will encircle a dying lamb huddling around it to keep it warm. Unless the farmer is watching 24 hours a day, it is impossible to reduce these deaths in an open farm.

Lambs will continue suckling their mums until the thirteenth week when the mum pushes them away. This is identical to dogs- I observed the same with my Labrador bitch and her pups. I hate the idea of puppies being taken from their mums before thirteen weeks because THEY STILL NEED THEIR MUMS. Seeing that lambs are the same just breaks my heart for puppies crying for their mums.

Lambs are incredibly beautiful with blue eyes and angelic faces. I can understand why the lamb represents innocence and purity as depicted in the Bible and in art throughout the ages.

The local vicar helpfully says that lambs are born to die. This is true of us all but for some, sooner rather than later.

The ewes and lambs are gathered together to begin weighing. Photo copyright SvD.


© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

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