Wednesday, 14 April 2010


I'm back at the lovely Canon Frome Court.

Five baby boys last night! All in two hours, triplets and twins, mums and babies all happy and well.

(ok, this wasn't them, i got it off flickr...)

Ok I'm totally abusing this blog now and using it as my own note keeping tool but here's what I learnt.

1. Generally the mums get on with it and you stand back, wearing overalls, with a flask of tea and hopefully something nice to nibble on.

2. Try to co-ordinate the knocking up of your different animals so that they're due about the same time. Then when they're due, check on them every three hours, day and night, for signs of early or full on labour, or immanent birth.

3. First you see the water sack. That comes out and breaks and dangles around for a while, then the lamb (goats are the same they say) should come out front hooves first followed soon by head, coming out in a little dive. Once the first half's out, mum has a little rest before pushing the hind legs out.

(if it comes out head first you have to push it back in. If it comes out hind legs first, have a look, it might work, did last night for one of them, but might need "intervention" and I don't know how to do that.

4. The lamb is covered in a gooey sack which seems to constrict its breathing so mum sets straight away to eating it off. Once free of sack, after about five minutes of arriving the lamb is up on its feet, and finding the teet.

5. Once lamb 1 is clearly healthy, on its feet and suckling, mum goes into contractions for number two, and so on. Last night there was 30-60 minutes between babies.

6. The first bit of milk that comes out post birth is super concentrated good stuff. If twins, the second twin needs to suckle on the Other Nipple because the first twin will have got all the good stuff from the first nipple. You kind of grab them and move them to it. That's ok.

7. Now it's time for Paperwork. You need to check gender, identifying marks, and have a piece of paper where you tick things and check the eyelids and stuff. I don't know if you do this for you or for Defra or what but they do it here and they do things well here so that's what you do.

8. You will have pre-prepared a Birthing Unit - a little 1m x 1.5m or so fenced off area full of straw with lots of hay to eat and water to drink, safe from foxes. Now you Pick Up the babies by the forearms and hold them in front of mums face - walk backwards showing the lambs to mum and she'll follow you to the birthing unit. (It's good that this is a different space to where she gives birth because the latter is gooy and wet). Then you shut them in safely, check none of the others are going into labour, call it a job done and go to bed feeling warm and happy.



Oo and then after that they run around and spring jump a lot for no reason and it's really funny which, apart from getting to eat them in a few months, makes the whole thing make sense, to me...

But actually, I prefer Alpaca wool to sheep wool. I wonder what their meat tastes like...


  1. Aw, I love little lambs, particularly while they're still wobbly. I took photos of a mum with twins in their birthing unit last week - I can email them over if you like. : )

  2. OK, send me an email on smartoak*at* so I have your address!