The time has finally come - we have lambs at the croft!
Each year I forget how tiny they really are, there’s normal lamb cuteness, then there’s North Ronaldsay lambs, who are next level cuteness!
While doing the evening rounds (which involves feeding and putting all the animals in their beds) last week, I was over the moon to see Cocoa with a brand new jet black lamb, another girl too! Last year Cocoa’s lamb was a girl, which we named Cerin. This years lambs just as strong, and Cocoa continues to be a fantastic mother. Cerin is very interested in her new baby sister, following her mum and sister around a lot of the time. We hope that Cerin will also have a lamb this year.
We kept Cocoa in with Pancakes in the autumn, before letting them all out on the shore just before Christmas. Given the lamb's date of birth, we can work out that she is indeed Pancake’s lamb, which is really exciting. We are planning on using Gimli as our breeding ram this year.
Cocoa’s lamb needs a name! This year we’re offering the chance for someone to name a lamb. Money raised will go towards building the sheep, and their goat field mates, a play park.
Late on Saturday evening, as I was stirring a paella, after a busy day on the croft and at the Community Garden, a local crofter drove up with 2 noisy lambs in the back of her car. These 2 girls are to be bottle-fed babies. Olly and I scrambled into action (leaving the paella to burn in the process), making up milk and putting together a wee pen for them inside the workshop with a heat lamp suspended above it to keep them toasty. We are extra lucky to have Mango’s (the cow) help feeding the lambs this time around, with no need to buy in powdered milk for them.
Bottle-fed lamb mix:
700ml raw milk
1 tsp sugar
Whisk together and heat to body temperature.
We didn’t get any bottle babies last year, so we are really excited to have some to rear this year. They are lots of fun (minus the middle of the night feeds!), and make for very friendly pet sheep. It’s a head start on expanding our lovely Forever Flock of North Ronaldsay sheep.
If shore sheep have twins, common practise is to cull one of the twins, as it’s thought that this will give the other twin better chances of survival on the shore. I’m really thankful that we’ve been given the opportunity to save a couple of wee lives this year.
Then, just this morning, the same crofter drives past with another 2 little lambs, again, both girls. So we now have a pen of 4 noisy (but oh so cute) lambs to feed and cuddle!