A Rusticated Lifestyle

One of the great joys of living a rusticated lifestyle, is to witness the various animals engaged in the reproductive process, from hatching chickens and ducks, to sheep giving birth. And in the immediate past it’s been the sheep lambing.

Last November, Brenton Paech from Grenalta Stud at Warrow, generously donated a good strong ram to Nyroca Camp, and given the advice in my little book of sheep husbandry, I expected lambs to be born exactly five months’ later, in April or May – but it was not to be. Brenton told me that if the ewes were too fat or conversely too skinny, they may not get pregnant at all. Until a few weeks’  ago, there was no sign of advancing pregnancy (to me anyway). Well just a short time later, two or three of my flock of six, exhibited the enlarging pinkish udders, which brought on great excitement.

Just two weeks’ ago, I was checking on the sheep with Di and Kim, who have been travelling Australia for the past eight years, when we had the surprise of our lives,  witnessing a sheep giving birth to twins. Staying well away, we surreptitiously kept a close observation on proceedings. Sadly however, the ewe would not feed either lamb. As soon as one of the lambs went near her udder, she would turn away. Over the next few hours, I took advice from Freeman and Yvonne Puckridge, Raymond Whillas, Rodney Winkle and Warren Dickie – and they were all of a like mind: ‘get the collostrum into them immediately and pen the ewe and lambs away from the rest of the mob’. Warren Dickie even suggested that I apply ladies hair spray to the ewe and the lambs’ faces, so that the mother senses that they smell the same as she does. ‘In this situation it’s all about conning them’, he said. Notwithstanding the small nature of my holding, these experts have been very helpful, and no doubt are somewhat amused by my lack of knowledge on such matters, what is second nature to them.

The lambs (named Lincoln and Stellar), are thriving, albeit with no sustenance from their mother, but enjoy being bottle fed about four times a day, with every visitor to Nyroca eagerly taking part in this daily ritual. Their father (now named Rambo), seemingly shows no interest whatsoever.

Visitors (adults and children), all want to be photographed feeding or holding the lambs, which incidentally have been from time immemorial, the universally acknowledged emblem or purity and innocence.