“Things are really cracking now. We have 20 lambs on the ground – all twins except for two singles. We’ve had no troubles with births nor with the newborn lambs, and they are all growing so fast my only concern at the moment is space. I had to get creative to fit everyone in the north side of the east barn, and am eagerly awaiting the departure of the laying hens for pasture, since that will free up the south side for the lambed ewes and their babes. Right now they are grouped four or five mothers to a pen, which makes eight or ten lambs together. When the ewes get up from resting we have a few minutes of noisy confusion while they sort out which lambs are their own and therefore welcome to nurse. The older group’s lambs have started to stot and play in a gang, romping around the pen all together. It’s good for the heart to see it.
Meanwhile, in the west barn, two sows have farrowed. The first one had only four piglets, but they are all thriving. We were checking on that litter last night when we heard a squeak from behind the sow next to her. She was just giving birth to her first piglet. When Mark checked her at midnight, she had more than twelve, maybe fifteen. This morning they were all nursing, a squirming pile of life. Because that litter is so big we may try to graft a few onto another sow to raise, as the sow doesn’t have enough teats to feed them all at once….” Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.