Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The lamb count tonight is fourteen. Traditionally our ewes choose the worst possible weather to give birth, ice storms a speciality. This winter has been unseasonably mild, so they have had to be satisfied with our recent cold snap with near zero wind chills. At feeding time the lambs hang back while the ewes press in towards the feed troughs. With fourteen to choose from, it takes a while to sort out who belongs to whom. They sort first by ear, the ewes and lambs engaging in a kind of call and response, high pitched lamb cries answering back to the lower voiced ewes. The real test though is smell. The ewe sniffs the lamb, sometimes from head to tail, before being satisfied that she has found the right one.