Lambs, Alpacas and Pronking!
We've almost finished lambing now and luckily haven't lost any lambs to foxes which I'm pleased about. We normally lose a few each year but this lambing season, for the first time, we borrowed two Alpaca (which look like mini Llamas) from a neighbour to deter foxes. They are intimidating animals and if you go into the field with a dog they are very defensive in the way they strut around.
We had two lambings: one in early March and the other in April and have had a total of about 600 lambs this year. Ken Foster, our shepherd, who has been at Home Farm for about ten years, has been very busy, working long hours around the clock. During lambing, he and Rob, our student, check the lambs at midnight and then again at 4 am. When we had the gale force easterlies we had to be very careful with the newborn wet lambs as they lose temperature very quickly. We always get a few orphan lambs or cade (a word I learned from Ken) lambs - those left behind who don't bond with their mother for various reasons. They can be fed on a milk replacement, but that means they lose their organic status. When my sons were growing up they always had orphan lambs which were great fun but as the lambs got bigger and were allowed in the garden they ate everything!
Lambs are very funny. I love watching them 'pronk'. Pronking means 'to jump straight up and go forward by leaps and bounds'. It is a distinct movement, like a four legged jump, which I find hilarious, it makes the lambs look like they are spring loaded!
Friday, November 14
We also use donkeys or mules to deter coyotes from ravaging herds of any kind.