It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Aotearoa. Birds sing and flutter under powder blue skies and scattered puffs of cloud, our animals graze contentedly and the cats and dog lounge in the sun. This week has been a landmark week for us, with the very first birth of an animal on the smallholding since we moved in.
I arrived home on Tuesday to much excitement in the household and the news that our Dorper ewe was having contractions. Wendy and the girls mounted watch from our bedroom and the deck overlooking the home paddock. As the light faded and night fell, I ventured into the paddock with a lamp to check the ewe. After managing to get in the right position, I could see the lamb’s head appearing but with no front legs showing, I was concerned that things might get complicated. After phoning for advice we continued to watch & wait and, twenty minutes later, the ewe dropped her small lamb just as my farmer mate Johnny turned up to provide guidance.
Having been born a little premature and with a swollen tongue from the birth, the lamb was struggling to breath and made no effort to stand up. The ewe began kicking it quite violently (to encourage it to move and stand), so we decided to remove it from the paddock briefly and help it catch its breath and find its feet.
Surrounded by the family and Alex the WWOOFer, the lamb slowly picked up. After much oohing and aahing and drinking of red wine (well, one needs to celebrate such things, right), we took the lamb back to the paddock and, after a cautious attempts, successfully reintroduced it to the ewe.
Since then, Arthur (so named for Wendy’s Dad as the lamb was born on his 92nd birthday) has progressed nicely, feeds well and is great fun to watch.
From my limited experience, the ewe and ram seem to be attentive, protective and nurturing parents and together they make a handsome threesome. I pulled the lamb away this morning to check a weeping eye and Robyn grabbed a few quick shots before we treated it and put it back.
Once again, I am thankful that we’re blessed by the experiences we have and the wonders we witness around us in this beautiful place.