Sunday, 25 May 2014

Lamb Plan Part 2

If you want to skip the build up, just scroll down to the cute lamb pictures. Here's one to keep you going.

Excitement has been building all week. For Friday was the appointed date for collecting the lambs from the Rare Breeds Centre.
All I had to do was to bring the livestock trailer up from the pig enclosure, where Daisy has been using it to sleep. (Don't ask why!) But then a prediction of rain on Wednesday night made me a little worried that the ground would become too slippery to tow the trailer out. And it certainly did rain overnight, which would have been a good thing had it not been for the trailer.
Still I thought that everything would be alright. The ground had been very dry and the grass would dry out during the day. After all, temperatures had been up into the 70s (I still think in Fahrenheit) all week.
But on Thursday, while I was stuck at work, the heavens opened as we were hit with several late afternoon downpours accompanied by clashes of thunder and some quite spectacular lightning. I rushed home from work and went straight down to the trailer. It was still raining so the quicker I could move it the better. I decided that the best way would be if I could pull it by hand, for I reckoned to have more grip than my car, which is not really designed for such tasks. I managed to heave the trailer some of the way until I was beaten by a slight incline, plus a rather muddy dip in the ground where the moles cross.

I reversed the car to the trailer, hitched it up and tentatively touched the accelerator. Slowly and gently we started moving. I kept a featherlight touch on the accelerator and crossed my fingers. A minute later we were on safe ground and all I needed to do was to clean out and disinfect the trailer ready to head out early in the morning.

The journey to the Rare Breeds Farm went according to plan and they were ready on my arrival. I chose the biggest stockiest lambs. They don't have the cute factor, but they will be better equipped to move outside and start chomping on my long grass. They should end up bigger too.
In no time I had six boys and three girls loaded up and ready to go. Six of them are commercial cross-breeds which the farm buy in so there are enough hand-reared lambs for the public to ogle over. One is a pure Norfolk Horn and one a pure White-faced Woodland.

And here they are.

It was a cautious arrival at their new home.

This green stuff was new to them too.

I backed up the trailer and, opening the back door, I stood back out of the way before they came bounding out. But they were more cautious than that. After all, they'd just been picked up from their home and put in a strange trailer which moved.
When it finally stopped and the gates were flung open, there was a whole new world outside. And it was covered in green stuff. They had seen this distantly before, but most of their lives had been spent in a straw-filled barn.
It took a while for the bravest to venture out, eventually followed by the others. And when they did get there they weren't sure what they were supposed to eat. First they tried the trailer, but that didn't taste too good. Then they tried my trousers... which didn't please Goliath who was hiding between my feet.
Is this what we're supposed to eat?

Eventually one of them discovered that dying dock leaves, the old ones at the base of the plant, are quite tasty. Another discovered that sticks were good to chew on.
New experiences just kept coming. They tried a bit of Goliath chasing, until they happened upon his dad.

They tried a bit of tree climbing too.
They did a bit of running around madly, but John was too slow with the camera. But eventually they discovered that the green stuff made pretty good eating.

White-faced Woodland
Norfolk Horn.
His wool will turn white with age, apart from the legs
So that was that. Our lawn mowers have arrived and we will have meat in the autumn.
And while I work outside the occasional bleating of lambs is a most welcome sound on the farm.

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