No days off here, the work still continues. It’s really important to keep the animals well fed during colder spells. Even though the horses have their rugs on, they still need that extra food to generate body heat to keep themselves warm.
As we trundled over the soggy field to prepare the stable for Stripes impending birth, we did not expect to find this little beauty waiting for us. Meet Gloria!
Stripes hips had started rotating the evening before so we thought we’d have a couple of days yet to prepare the stable and get her settled. She wasn’t showing any signs of being ready to drop just yet, so we were in no particular hurry. Oh how wrong we were!
It was clear Stripe hadn’t bonded with her new lamb when we found them, this was her first, and it’s not an uncommon occurance with new mothers. The lamb was laid shivering in the corner still covered in its birthing sack, looking just like skin and bone.
First thoughts were we need to try and get her to suckle on her mum and get some of the nutritious colostrum into her body. Unfortunately Stripes teats didn’t seem to be producing milk. New mothers can sometimes have their teats blocked by a waxy build up that forms a plug. With a bit of warm water and gentle massaging, the teats were soon cleared and the milk was flowing. Progress!! We thought ….
Gloria had other ideas. She seemed too weak to suckle and wouldn’t keep the teat in her mouth no matter how much we tried. The only option now seemed to be starting her off on bottle feed as a last resort. A quick rush to the local agricultural supply to grab a bag of artificial colostrum and some milk replacer and we were ready to try giving her first feed.
At this point we weren’t sure wether she was going to be strong enough to survive. It really is heartbreaking to see a mother reject her lamb. But as we brought the bottle to her lips she started taking on the milk. A little fighter!
We couldn’t leave her with her mum overnight in the cold stable as she just wasn’t strong enough. And stripe didn’t seem to care for her, trampling all over and moving away when she tried to get close. So a trip home for Gloria it was.
We suffered a few unexpected losses on the chicken front last year. So in June we decided to go ahead and try to incubate our own chicks. We started with four and have now grown the flock to ten!
In the last couple of weeks one of the older chicks has now started laying, and we have our first egg carton full of tasty fresh eggs! Well they might not look that tempting, but they do taste amazing.
It took her a couple of tries to realise the middle of a field or stable arent the ideal places to lay an egg, bless her!
This year we hope one of the hens will take a few fertilised eggs under her wings and do the hatching for us. Exciting times.
It might be a bit late for new years resolutions, but better late than never! We’re going to try and blog our way through this year, hopefully capturing all the exciting daily events that happen down here at The Ark.
To start things off, we’ve noticed our Hampshire Down Ewe, Stripe (far right on the photo), is looking a little larger than usual. Rambo our ram (centre) was born in January so maybe we’ll have another early lamb, fingers crossed!!