One of the many delights of an Easter holiday in a comfy stone cottage at Watermill Cottages in South Devon’s AONB is helping to feed lambs. Seeing them play, leap and bound against the stunning views over Start Bay beyond Slapton from our sunset field is one of life’s great and simple joys at Watermill Cottages. And this spring, there’s a tale to tell!
The Lamb Rover parked in the lane. We heard the bleating of week-old lambs crying for their mums who were in the attached trailer. Jade and Ollie had brought them from Jolly Farm to enjoy our Sunset Field in the Gara Valley.
We lifted the lambs out first and carefully handed them over the field fence, then opened the gate and the trailer. Ewes ran straight into the field, and, oh the noise, as they bleated for their lambs and the lambs squeaked back. A spring cacophony as they searched and sniffed and baa’ed with relief.
The mums have a number sprayed on their fleece. The digit denotes where they are in the birthing order. Red means a single lamb, the lamb shares the same number. Blue means twins, each twin lamb carrying the same number. We checked them all… Hmmm… Ewe 12 had a blue number but only one lamb. Oh dear. One Twin 12 had been left behind in the lambing barn. And this on Mother’s Day.
Jade and Ollie drove straight home to check the barn. A lamb this young needs to feed very often so there was no time to lose. Yes, a shaking Number 12 was there. We drove over immediately in our ‘lambulance’, John’s word, on an emergency mission to reunite lamb and ewe. On the way back, I carried Twin 12 on my lap, a thick towel underneath in case of other lamb emergencies. He was warm and calm, looking out the window at green fields.
Back at The Sunset Field we drove in and looked for Ewe 12. There she was, on the crest. I put her missing lamb on the ground. It had a good shake and bleated. Mum replied and on tottering legs it galloped over to her, nudged her udder and drank long and happily. Success!
Two days later, more newborns and ewes arrived. We feed them daily, enjoying their bouncing spring energy and different personalities.