Hedging our Bets

Another busy & exhausting day, with the sheep playing a starring role:

(but no, Allspice STILL hasn’t lambed – yet……).

But they’ve frustrated me almost to my wit’s end with their antics.  Our resident cade lamb – little Corydalis, or ‘Corrie’ for short (after a larger-than-life character in one of my favourite books, ‘Blessed are the Cheesemakers’ by Sarah-Kate Lynch) really has become the Snowball from Hell – as he tears around the house at breakneck speed – literally – always, directly under my feet, tripping me over at almost every wary step.  But he’s lovely, such a little character; & really taking his bottles with gusto, now.

Meanwhile the majority of the flock were outside again today, enjoying the relatively fine if occasionally overcast, weather; the majority of the lambs all play & sleep together with Jelly seeming to have taken over as unofficial ‘nanny’; shepherding them everywhere (except at mealtimes, when she only thinks of her belly) & plonking herself in the midst of them, placidly chewing the cud, whilst they snooze in the afternoon sunshine. 

But Allspice has been behaving badly: again, trying to headbutt her pen door to the extent that she got herself completely stuck, wedging her head in the aperture again; & had to be rescued several times.  Then, when checking on the occupants of Caravan Corner I discovered that our ram lamb, Bogbean had YET AGAIN managed to get himself irrecoverably entangled in the hedge; & had been prone for evidently some time, as he was clearly exhausted & did not attempt to struggle particularly; although he’s used to the procedure by now & is generally quiet as I extricate him anyway.  Cursing under my breath I fetched the sturdiest loppers I could lay my hands on & gently freed him from the mass of ensnaring brambles, after which I carefully removed the detritus from his fleece.  But he was extremely weak; & couldn’t stand, although after much perseverance on my part I managed to help him up & whilst was wobbly for a while afterwards, he eventually took a few tottering steps, gaining strength all the time, & finally – thankfully – resumed grazing, much to my relief. 

I worked hard on the hedgerow for the rest of the afternoon, grateful that it was sunny & at least reasonably warm.  I cut back every offending bramble or blackthorn spike I could find with grim determination: this simply could not go on.  But the long-handled loppers are heavy; & by the time I’d finished my wrists & elbows ached so much with each determined chomp of the blades, that I could scarce lift them to finish the job.

Then I had to clear all the resulting mess; as I couldn’t have the brambles either catching in fleeces nor the danger of a cloven hoof getting a sharp blackthorn spike wedged painfully in the soft flesh between an animal’s cleats.  This was not a pleasant job: the brambles snagged nastily at every exposed inch of flesh; & the blackthorn needles scratched & plunged into my skin at every opportunity.  I was glad to finish; but left the loppers in the caravan – just in case.   Thankfully by the time I truged back down to the orchard, Bogbean was back with the rest of the flock, grazing unconcernedly as if nothing had happened; although I was concerned he might still be dehydrated as I hadn’t managd to persuade him over to the water trough.  Oh, well; he’ll have a drink in his own time, I suppose.

So it’s been a busy day, sheep-wise (or should I say DAFT, as that ruddy Bogbean truly must be; the others only needed to learn the lesson once, he just doesn’t seem to learn AT ALL & in fact has been getting stuck, wedged or lost since only a lamb). Thank goodness the goats have been quiet, for once – is this the calm before the caprine storm, though….?!



About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Animals, Diary, Life, Livestock, Smallholding. Bookmark the permalink.

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