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Lambs, pigs talking to ewes and my last seminar...

Emma Heseltine - 24 March 2013

Sunday brings us no lambs at all but Monday morning is chaos. Three ewes have lambed and there are six lambs but it seems as though nobody knows which lambs belong to whom. We get them all in the pens and then start the task of sorting them out.  It’s pretty easy to tell if a lamb doesn’t belong to a ewe as she will push it away so after a bit of trial and error I think I get it sorted. Trouble is when I go down the field to feed the cattle I find another lamb under the trailer… back to the drawing board. I get it sorted to a certain degree but one of the ewes has decided she is only having one lamb, the middle ewe meanwhile has four and doesn’t seem to mind that very much. Looks like someone is going in the adopter, there is no way that one of these ewes had four lambs, and there is no way she can feed four.

There is a ewe that is definitely thinking about lambing. She has been hanging out by the hedge for most of the afternoon. When I bring the ewes up to the house field for the evening she stays behind. Sure enough there is a little nose and two feet poking out, looks good. After a while we decide there must be a problem as it has not popped out yet. She will not be helped though and legs it across the field at a speed quite alarming for someone in labour. I can’t catch her, we let her be and see if she can manage herself. It becomes apparent she can’t and after a few gentle words with me creeping ever closer I manage to get a hold of her, I think she is ready for the help now. And sure enough the lamb is in the correct presentation but is so huge that she was having trouble getting it out. A swift tug and its spluttering on the ground and the ewe looks a bit shell shocked, it’s a very big lamb.

Some of the ewes are at the fence where the pigs are this afternoon. I wonder what’s going on. They seem to be having a chat through the fence. Pigs aren’t squealing, sheep aren’t baaing I think they are just sniffing each other, each trying to work out what the other is. What does a ewe say to a pig?

This weekend it’s my final seminar of my apprenticeship and it’s in Exeter. I’m getting the train down and the snow means I’m delayed but get there eventually, we are staying in Yurts which is a new experience for me. It’s nice to see everyone and we have a couple of good sessions - one on farm ecology and one looking back on our time as apprentices. We all think of things that have inspired us throughout our apprenticeship, people, places, times and books. I agree with James that Pammy Riggs will always stick in my mind. She make us think about how a 60p chick doesn’t know its worth any more than a million pound race horse does, we should treat them with equal respect. I would say I’ve been inspired by the other organic farmers and the apprentices I have met, they all seem to be part of one big extended family with lots to share and learn from each other. Finally on my mind at the moment is lambing, I will never cease to be amazed at a little lamb being born, its amazing. 

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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Comments



Rachel Harries
28 March 2013 16:48

Lambing - sounds very familiar!

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