We’ve started lambing and there’s a Basco Béarnaise !

New-born lambThe days just seem to fly by at the moment. There’s a lot of everyday things going on and like farmers all over France, we’ve loads of paperwork to do this month, then on exactly the date we predicted, the sheep started lambing.

I like it when they lamb early in the year because we have them all inside in the warmth and out of danger. When we let them lamb outdoors there are often mishaps when, for example a new mother abandons her new-born lamb in the field or a fox or badger takes a lamb.

new born lamb with yellowThere’s not a lot to eat in the fields anyway and it’s been bitterly cold and windy out there for the past few days.
We’ve some good hay, mineral and vitamin licks and a ration of cereal for each new mum and being closer to them at the moment makes them less scared of us and easier to manage if there are birthing or feeding problems.

We have a lot more water harvested from the roof this year which the goats and sheep seem to prefer to tap water and we keep the storage close to the shed, in a warm area and so they’re less likely to freeze, which cuts down a lot on the work of smashing ice and carrying kettles of hot water. The new mothers drink an amazing amount of water ! All in all it’s easier and more comfortable for us and them and as we can hear what’s going on in the shed from the house it’s certainly more reassuring.

I’m excited because we’ve had a lamb from one of our Basco Béarnaise ewes. He’s a strapping lad and huge despite the size of his sire – a small but obviously very capable Cameroon ram.

She’s not a terribly good mother which is not a bad thing in some ways. It means we can feed the wee fella a bit ourselves and take some of her milk for tea and for making cheese and I’ll feel a lot less guilty about the whole thing.

We’ve one lamb in the kitchen who we needed to warm up and feed quickly because his mother totally rejected her. The poor wee thing chose the worst spot ever to curl up in and got chilled and when we tried to get her to suck the colostrum from the ewe she was already too weak.

We milked off some colostrum and gave it to her gently in drops from a syringe and she licked and swallowed.

She finally got a bit more strength after she was warmed up and with a bit of help from our Dachshund Bonnie who is a real star and licks lamb’s bottoms to stimulate them to pee and feed just like the ewe does. Thanks to Bonnie, the lamb’s sucking reflex started working and she’s now taking tiny amounts from a baby’s bottle and is slowly walking around the kitchen this evening.

The little thing isn’t completely OK yet but we’re hoping she’ll recover and make a strong wee lamb.

12 thoughts on “We’ve started lambing and there’s a Basco Béarnaise !

  1. so sweet!

  2. what beautiful little lambs

  3. They are adorable!

    Great blog – maybe we could swap links with Gofarmer Blog

  4. Congrats on the new babes they are adorable… hope the rejected lamb survives! Best of wishes for a healthy start for them all.

  5. But they're so beautiful!
    And your maternity ward sounds like just the right place in which to give birth.

    You know, I never knew that badgers take newborn lambs, we learn something new every day
    N'est-ce pas?

  6. I love the way you have written this in such a sensitive and caring way. Sounds like you really understand your animals.

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  9. hello nice blog nice blog thanks

  10. Anonymous

    Thanks for your blog ! And I would like to know if it is possible to come visiting your nice place… camping and helping for few days… we are a little french family (couple with 1 kid 6 years old) that likes your way of living. It could be a great experience for us to see how to make it. But it doesn't matter if it isn't. All the best. LN.

  11. hello nice blog nice blog thanks

  12. Are you still up and running?

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