I was going to be so strong. Honest, I was. I was going to resist, you see. Resist posting yet more photos of cutesy calves and lovely lambs. After all I’ve posted lots of photos of both before. But when Margaret (the neighbouring farmer) told me that she was expecting (so to speak), it gnawed at my mind and made my shutter finger itch. And when I heard that the new arrivals were plopping out left, right and centre, I couldn’t stop myself from grabbing my camera and rushing up to the farm. Here’s what I saw. Resolve be damned.
I’m a sucker for a calf adept at licking its own nostril.
Really adept and with such gusto.
There’s a whole clutch of young calves; about half of the thirty pregnant cows have given birth.
Normally, Margaret only has about twenty in calf but she obviously thinks she has spare time on her hands. Thankfully, unlike last year, there have been no …
… still births, no deaths, no difficult, protracted deliveries. Indeed she hasn’t even had to lend a hand – yet.
The newest arrival was born to Buttercup (we’ll call her) less than twelve hours ago; a sturdy, if still groggy, bull calf.
Despite Buttercup’s distrustful, watchful gaze, Margaret had to disinfect the calf’s umbilical scar. Buttercup had already mooed angrily when the farmyard cat had sauntered a little too close – so Margaret warily asked that I stay close-by in case protective mooing became angry barging. Though, I’m unclear how my screaming and impotent, panicky flapping would have helped.
That disinfectant stings and the calf was up on his feet and away but Buttercup didn’t seem so very concerned after all …
… and Buttercup Jr. was soon back where he belonged …
… wreathed in Mum’s warm breath. (Incidentally, I was constantly licked and nibbled by one particular cow whilst taking these shots. Imagine that: constantly licked and nibbled).*
Next door, in pens smelling of warm, sweet hay, Margaret’s Christmas lambs are arriving (the main lambing season won’t start for another few weeks). Margaret had planned the first births for the day after Boxing Day. But the ewes hadn’t read the plan – they started on Christmas morning.
This is the fourth or fifth year that I’ve visited the farm during lambing but it’s not a sight I ever tire of.
This is the youngest – about five hours old.
And here is the smallest lamb that Margaret has ever seen. I’ll let her tell you about it:
“I’ve been doing this job for the last 23 years, so I’m still really a novice – well, it feels that way sometimes! The mini lamb is a ewe lamb which probably means she is here for life! I think she will always be too small to go to the ram – so she will just be a pet! Still, what is the point of it all if you can’t occasionally be a bit sentimental. I am not alone in this. If you dig deep, you will find a lot of farmers are the same.”
The little she-lamb is far smaller than its twin (all of Margaret’s ewes have had twins so far).
The mother wasn’t keen on the cut of my jib.
But was perfectly happy for Margaret to pick up the tiny one and pass her to a friend. (Hi Rita).
So no - lambing (and calving) is not a sight I shall ever tire of. And it would seem Margaret won’t either.
So I suspect I’ll be posting more photos of lambs and calves. Again.
* I now intend to hang about the cow sheds regularly.