Thursday, 6 July 2017

Lambing Season


Lambing season is upon us, with these twins the first to be born last Thursday.

Those readers who follow my Facebook or Instagram pages daily will be aware of our battle to outwit the foxes who's numbers have become out of control in recent years. 
Without these two beautiful creatures, I think we would not have many live lambs. I love to watch them carefully checking on the new lambs, playing a large part in nurturing the flock, young and old.
While I was out checking the flock one morning, the alpacas were watching me curiously when suddenly, their attention turned to the top of the hill, towards the boundary fence where a ewe had recently birthed a new lamb. They called loudly in their donkey like fashion of communicating danger, and ran towards the fence. Well, one ran while the other stood guard with the flock, as is their habit of teamwork.
There on the hill, a fox glided with stealth towards the new lamb and mother, and stopped to sit in a clump of grass just out of my sight.
As luck happened it was one of those rare occasions that I carried my phone, so I called Brian who was down at the house. He grabbed his gun from the securely locked gun safe, and bullets from a securely locked ammunition safe in a different location to the gun safe (author raises eyes and sighs whilst writing this) and high tailed it up to the hill towards me.
I indicated to him where I last saw the fox, and as he walked along the fence line, looking in the grass, the fox moved. Brian took aim, but as I was positioned on the other side of the fox he didn't get a shot until the fox had ran a small distance through the fence. We then realised that he had grabbed the single bullet gun instead of the 12 gauge which sends out pellets over a small radius, so the fox got away.  This time!!
The cheek of the thing. To blatantly attempt to attack a lamb in broad daylight, and in the presence of a very visible, orange clothed human!

We purchased two fox lights three years ago, and decided to buy another one last week after the fox episode. When Brian went to our local farming supplies outlet there was only one light left in stock. Another farmer had just purchased ten of them an hour before!

This one is solar powered and more expensive at $139, but saving on the cost of replacement batteries each year, brings it in line with the other battery powered lights.
When factoring in the cost of just one lamb sold at market, currently an average price of $150,  this is a reasonable price to pay for a devise that we believe helps reduce the number of fox attacks on our lambs.
(We have no affiliate connection to the makers or suppliers of this product.)
With three of these strategically placed  lights blinking randomly around the paddock I'm reminded of my disco days back in the 70's. ;)

Lamby, the bottle fed lamb brought to us in early June, is growing like a mushroom. At six weeks old he is drinking just three bottles a day, no night feeds. However, he doesn't know he's a sheep and will NOT stay with the mob in the paddock when I take him in with me to do my rounds.
He still spends his nights safely locked in the poultry shed with the hens, out of harms way from marauding foxes. His days are spent in a grassy paddock near to the house, close enough that I can pop out to feed him his three bottles each day, but far enough away that he doesn't hear my voice and  call out to me every five minutes.
In an effort to find him a lamb companion I put out a request on our local Barossa Online Classifieds Facebook Page
 "It's LAMBING season, so to all sheep owners out there, who find yourself with any ORPHAN lambs and you don't want the job of bottle raising them (time consuming & expensive) I will collect them from you and raise them. I will take all breeds of WOOL sheep only. Sorry, I can't take any of the wool shedding breeds as their wool will contaminate our Merino wool at shearing time. Message me at any time & I'll pick up your orphans ASAP. 🐑🐑🍼🍼 Pls share or pass onto anyone who has lambs. Some folks don't see Facebook so they can text me on 0473493413 "

 The advertisement was successful..! And these two little cuties were delivered to me yesterday all dressed up in their little waterproof jackets.
They came from a large farm of more than 1000 Merino ewes. The kind farmer and his daughter pick up the lambs on their property that have lost contact with their mothers. and feed them all with an automated feeder. These two would not drink from the feeder unaided, so they were being fed with a bottle. As there is little time for bottle feeding lambs, five times a day, on these big farms I was thrilled to receive them.  :)
So now my days revolve around feeding babies at all different times of the day and night. 


After three days of confinement in the safety of the enclosed calf yard, Poppy was allowed into the paddock with Lavender.
The first day was spent getting to know  each other in a small paddock separated from Mulga Bill. 
He (Mulga Bill) is such a big boy, and looks so mean, that I was hesitant to let him near the calf too soon, but on the following day the calf went in with them both, and Mulga shows such tenderness towards tiny Poppy.

OK it's time to heat milk and fill bottles... again..!!
Cheers, and thanks for dropping in.

14 comments:

  1. lambs are so cute! glad you were able to scare the fox away too!
    looks like you are going to be very busy for awhile feeding & looking after the babies!
    enjoy
    thanx for sharing

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    1. Looks like I'm grounded for the next three months Selina. :)

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  2. What a shame foxes are so cruel, Sally. The lambs are so cute. They will certainly keep you on your toes for a while. I hope the Foxlights work for you.

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    1. So far so good Chel, all of our efforts are working thus far.:)

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  3. well Mama Sally you sure do have your hands full with all these sweet little mouths to feed. Fingers crossed those foxes get the not welcome message. Jude xxx

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    1. Another set of twins born today Jude! :)

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  4. OH, those twin lambs are just a wee bit gorgeous, Sally. I love their little waggily tails. You'll be busy feeding them! I hope those fox lights work for you and keep your lambs safe. Meg

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    1. The lambs are just adorable Meg. It's heartwarming to be their mum.:)

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  5. Foxes are such opportunists aren't they? We don't have any domestic stock on our property but we have native birds. Recently a pair of Plovers hatched out 2 downy babies which are absolutely gorgeous. I'm sure they are jet propelled because they keep Mum and Dad very busy.
    Now we find the crows and magpies have moved in to try to get the babies.
    The Plovers are very good at keeping these carrion eaters away but several crows and magpies have felt the effects of Bob's slug gun. Doesn't kill them just frightens them off.

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  6. Merryl I'm always on the lookout for crows. They are beautiful and intelligent birds but ruthless and cruel too. We've had to scare them off the newborn lambs with a shot in the air in previous years, but not so many about this year. Plover chicks are just the cutest things, the way they run around and cause their mums so much stress.

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  7. Glad you've been spared from foxes so far. Those alpacas are definitely valuable heard mates. So alert too. And good news about Lamby's new companions. Although the extra chores may not be that cute. Lucky the lambs are. :)

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    1. Thanks Chris, so far so good, and the lamb numbers in the paddock grow each day. The bottle fed ones are keeping me on my toes. :)

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  8. Well hello! you dropped in on my blog so returning the favor. So glad I did. We struggle with coyotes here, the fox is rare, and rely on our great Pyrenees dog to protect our livestock. She does an amazing job. Carry on with your bottle feeding!

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    1. Those dogs are absolutely wonderful Donna. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment. You'll be seeing me over on your fabulous blog now that I've got you on my sidebar!

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