For once it was a reasonably fine day;
so we decided we really must move the lambs down from Parc Ty ol Tu & into Parc Dyffryn, once & for all. As we discovered yesterday & the day before this apparently simple task is far more difficult if you haven’t got a quad bike &/or a sheepdog. However we were determined that today would be the day they’d have to move as the paddock was by now a mucky mess.
Typically, the flock was grazing in the far top corner of the paddock; so we walked up & calmly shepherded them down in a little huddle. All went well until we got to the muddy patch near the open gate – at which they neatly skipped round it & made a dash for freedom back up the field.
After repeating this sorry procedure about five times we concluded we had no choice but to corral them & physically carry them downinto the neighbouring field, one by one; no easy task, either but hopefully achieving the seemingly impossible aim. So we collected a load of hurdles & carefully constructed a fancy ‘race’, much like hunters in ancient times would build into which prey animals such as gazelle would be driven & trapped. Meanwhile the lambs had been passively observing us from back in the security of the top corner of the paddock – & had already decided they were not having any of being driven into said corral.
After they’d run past it three or four times, we worked on Plan C: our next tactic, we concluded, would be to drive them into a corner & then as a lamb made a break for it, to rugby tackle said creature with a crook, after which Tony would take the front end & I’d take the back end; & we’d carry the animal down the field. After several unsuccessful attempts Tony finally managed to catch one – typically up in the top corner again (as sheep prefer to run uphill) & we made an ungainly sight as we carried the wriggling ovine down into the other field.
Unfortunately on letting him loose he decided to run around bleating loudly, at which the horses took great offence & chased the unfortunate creature until they grew bored of their game, much to the amusement of the goats who were all craning to get a ringside seat so they could watch the farcical proceedings whilst Darwin whinnied his frustration at not being able to join in, from his stable in the adjacent field.
Thankfully the lamb was unharmed by the experience but we now had to work quickly to catch a companion to join him & so minimise his distress. As there were now four lambs left this thankfully didn’t prove too difficult; but it still took time. Again, we carried the next wriggling, woolly bundle down the field, slipping & sliding through the mud until we managed to struggle through the gate before reuniting the lone lamb with his pal. By now the horses were more interested in the grass & much to our relief, left the pair alone.
This sorry exercise had to be endured another three times, with the last lamb inevitably the most difficult to catch as by now he’d worked out that something was amiss & was further anxious at finding himself alone. However rather than simply running down the field & through the gate to be reunited with the rest of his woolly chums, inevitably he stubbornly avoided the muddy gateway so instead we did a fair few more circuits of the field, growing hotter & crosser as time went by, before Tony made a magnificently desperate lunge & brought the creature to its knees – as it had pretty much brought us, to ours!
All in all, this apparently simple little exercise had taken around two hours: not much to show for a big chunk out of the day & I’m certainly not looking forward to repeating the exercise any time soon, especially as this new field is bigger, & much, much steeper. So I think that fo this little lot, their next trip may well be en route to the freezer…!