All in at one end and out at t’other on the farm

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With the bull back in with the herd to serve cows that have come bulling and the ewes starting to deliver their lambs, it is all in at

one end and out at the t’other in the farm buildings.

Keeping the ewes in has been a matter of necessity rather than choice.

The ground is still so wet from last year’s excessive rain that heavy downpours this spring are just exacerbating the situation.

Not good for vulnerable, newborn lambs.

A positive piece of news is that so far none of the lambs have shown any sign of being affected by the Schmallenberg virus.

Hope I have not spoken/written too soon. There has been a slow start to lambing but this morning events have speeded up.

I have just come back in from the yard where we are housing the ewes and two ewes have lambed in the last half hour.

A pair of twins and so far a tiny single but Mum is just settling down to delivering it’s sibling.

The first ewe to lamb, several days ago, became an instant sheep celebrity.

Other ewes crowded the pen she and her lamb were in, pushing their noses through the pen slats in desperate attempts to kidnap/lambnap the bewildered looking newborn.

John has surrounded the pens and the yard with large straw bales, and even though heavily pregnant, some of the ewes were jumping up onto these bales to jump down into the pen with the lamb.

And to think we credit sheep with no intelligence. John however has demonstrated slightly superior intellect by putting another row of bales at the end of the yard so that the ewes cannot access their jumping on point.

I am convinced I spotted a cabal of ewes plotting their next move.

Inland the rain sodden ground is delaying John drilling spring barley in a forty acre field ploughed out last back end.

In theory ploughing should have buried all the stubble and debris and allowed rain to penetrate the soil.

Frost would then break the soil down as that water froze and expanded.

But this field is heavy clay and the soil is stickier with rain finding it harder to penetrate.

Therefore there is still a lot of standing water despite the field being well drained. John spent an exciting afternoon yesterday spiking the field’s drains to get the water to run off and came home thrilled to bits with himself.

Doesn’t take a lot to get him excited I find. But a big, muscular, bull is certainly doing it for the cows.

A lot of heavyweight and enthusiastic happenings going off in the main foldyard. Takes up a lot of space as well.

The favoured mode of action frequently starts with the passionate participants one end of the yard and ends up at the other end as the cow staggers under the weight of the bull’s desire and struggles to keep upright.

The earth, as well as the foldyard floor, certainly moves for them.

Mrs Downs Diary