Friday, 20 January 2012

Sheep have caesareans too

It's bizarre how we can live on a farm in complete ignorance of farming. That's why I like talking to Farmer John.

The other night, while we were sleeping peacefully, he was across the yard snatching a few hours' kip in his car, waiting for one of the sheep's labour to progress. The early batch of lambs are top pedigree, artificially inseminated. One ewe needed a caesarean - an hour-and-a-half round trip to the vet's. Mum and baby are both doing well.

Are there any warning signs we should look out for in the lambing season? Apparently not. Farmer John has everything under control. The sheep are numbered in due date order and John's sideline in sonograms means he knows exactly what each sheep is expecting. Those carrying one lamb fend for themselves up on the hills. Those carrying two are lower down, with a heap of sugar beet. And those in the field next to us are carrying three or four. They get extra helpings.

I'm striving to share my newfound knowledge with my family. As the sheep obstruct the school run, I explain that they have baby lambs growing in their tummies. This leads to interesting questions such as "How do they come out?" and "Where are the Daddies?"

Meanwhile, Joe's been learning about babies at playgroup as well.
"When we were babies we drank milk from your boobies," he tells me. "It's called grassfed."

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