Lambs And Calves. Again.

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.

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I’m a sucker for a calf adept at licking its own nostril.

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Really adept and with such gusto.

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There’s  a whole clutch of young calves; about half of the thirty pregnant cows have given birth.

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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 …

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… still births, no deaths, no difficult, protracted deliveries.  Indeed she hasn’t even had to lend a hand – yet.

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The newest arrival was born to Buttercup (we’ll call her) less than twelve hours ago; a sturdy, if still groggy, bull calf.

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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.

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That disinfectant stings and the calf was up on his feet and away but Buttercup didn’t seem so very concerned after all …

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… and Buttercup Jr. was soon back where he belonged …

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… 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).*

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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.

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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.

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This is the youngest – about five hours old.

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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.”

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The little she-lamb is far smaller than its twin (all of Margaret’s ewes have had twins so far).

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The mother wasn’t keen on the cut of my jib.

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But was perfectly happy for Margaret to pick up the tiny one and pass her to a friend.  (Hi Rita).

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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.

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36 thoughts on “Lambs And Calves. Again.

  1. OK, I am a little disturbed by the thought of you hanging out with the cows hoping to get licked, but hey, if that is the price for lovely photos of new calves and lambs, so be it. I used to love going to the local farmer’s market when I was a child, back when a farmer’s market was where farmers bought and sold animals. There were always young piglets, calves and lambs, but I envy you the opportunity to regularly get so close to the new arrivals.

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    • Hi Janet, sorry but yep, that’s the price. I did try to convince Margaret to keep pigs in her wood but she gave me look – so I shut up. I guess she’s got enough to do. So sadly no piglet photos. Dave

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    • It’s quite ridiculous how much I would miss having Margaret’s cows and sheep in the fields about the Priory. They are so much part of the scene – and I enjoy helping out with herding and what-not when I can too. The Priory would be a duller place without them – just so long as they don’t come IN the garden. D

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  2. I have to add immediately a mini lamb to my birthday gift list. I am going to save the curly calf for another occasion though.
    I really admire this Margaret, she must have a very deep heart as well as deep boots!

    As for your decision about hanging about the cow shed regularly, I think it’s a good idea, I bet your nostrils will be very clean from now on (it was about time!).

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    • She has deep boots and a very deep heart, Alberto though I doubt she’ll part with min-lamb however much you might want one. And I’ll have you know actually, that my nostrils are as clean as a whistle with or without the ministrations of cattle. Actually. Well – usually. Dave

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  3. Well they all look strong and healthy – such good shots – well done you. Imagine being able to lick your own nose – save a helluva lot of money on tissues eh what!

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  4. Well I won’t be complaining about more calf and lamb photos, they are so cute. Good to be able to get hold of such good quality meat. We get most of our meat from a farmers’ market. It’s all organic from a farm in the mountains, there’s lamb, pork, beef and mutton. Not only does it taste amazing but it’s actually cheaper than buying from the supermarket.

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    • Jealous about the mutton, WW. I’ve only ever had it once and was smitten. I’ve asked Margaret to bear me in mind if she does ever send a ewe off for mutton. I buy half hoggets and cow eighths from M and it is so much cheaper than supermarket meat. tastes far better, has only travelled a few miles to the local abattoir and the animals have lived a pretty good life – and kept me company to boot. D

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    • Not particularly early, Gwennie. The calves are usually born in winter and by having some lambs now, M is able to stagger the lambing season – less work than them all arriving en masse and also they won’t all be ready to be sold at the same time. Most of her lambs though will be born at Easter. D

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      • My husband just told me that calves are born during all seasons and lambs usually late Winter and early Spring. He had aunts and uncles who had a farm and he loved going on holday there when he was a kid.I could not ever be a farmers wife as I wouldn’t be able to sell the animals !!!!

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        • Indeed, M buys cows in calf at market all year round but her own she puts to bull so that they calf in winter in the sheds. She can keep an eye on things then and give a hand if needed – more difficult if calving were to happen out in the fields. Know what you mean about selling but they have a pretty fine life in the fields about the Priory and they are killed and butchered locally. I buy my lamb and beef from Margaret – can’t get more local,. Food miles pretty minimal. D

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  5. Don’t resist on our behalf… What is it about baby animals when they look so fuzzy and uncertain that makes human insides go all melty? I’m glad Margaret’s having a better season this year — last year sounded really rough! Buttercup is clearly a cow of taste and discernment, mooing angrily at the cat like that. A good judge of character.

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    • Hey Stacy, yep – a much better time of it this year. She had one pair of tangled lambs to untangle and ease out with the lambing rope. I should just like to be there one time when a lamb is being born. Might even do a post about it! Dave

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    • Hi Mr K, none of the male calves will be killed at birth – unlike in large dairy herds. They’ll be sold at market when they’re older. I have an eighth of one of M’s cows in my freezer. Hung for 28 days – amazing taste. Puts any supermarket beef to shame. D

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  6. Really beautiful pictures, no wonder you rushed over to record the moment! Our lambs are in the fields here in Devon, yours must be nice and cosy!

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    • One ewe did give birth outside before Margaret could get it inside. I think it is generally just so much easier for her to have them indoors. She has CCTV set up and so can keep an eye on what’s happening from the comfort of her kitchen. D

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  7. Lovely photos. Young animals are so sweet. I don’t suppose there is all that much happening in the garden at present, although more than in ours, I’m sure. Although you may not have honey bees flying about, unless you have a hive nearby.

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    • You have made me think, Karin (for the first time) that there is no reason why we shouldn’t have a couple of hives at the Priory. I used to keep bees and should love to do so again. Thanks for that! Dave

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    • Hi Helen, well these lambs are only the Christmas ones – the main ‘season’ will start around Easter time. Doing two batches, means that Margaret doesn’t have all her ewes lambing at the same time and all the lambs ready for market or the abattoir at the same time. Though perhaps I shouldn’t mention the abattoir. Dave

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