Mighty Mouse

28 April 2018

Well what a spring this has been, started with the “Beast from the East” in early March, and didn’t improve much until the middle of April. I have worked at Lochty for 35 years and cannot remember a spring as wet and cold as this one has been.
We started lambing 200 ewes indoors on the first week of March. We had one or two problems with ewes with twin lamb disease (Lack of energy in the ewe), but things got steadily tougher as the Beast struck. One morning the whole lambing shed had a fairly heavy covering of snow even with all the doors shut to the east wind. We only have enough room to hold about 75 ewes and lambs inside in another shed at that farm, so we had to transport any new born lambs and there mothers up to Lochty.
The other 300 ewes started lambing on the 6th of April all outdoors, and it was just as tough a start. We had 3 days of steady rain and to cap it all off an afternoon of sleet and snow! I’m afraid to say we lost a few ewes and quite a few lambs. The weather has improved from the middle of April and the lambs are starting to play like lambs should.
The first calf was born on the 21st of March. With the cows housed on straw courts through the winter, the weather was not so much of a problem. It has been going quite well up until now, we have had quite a few breach births this year for some unknown reason. The cows with calves were finally turned out to grass on the 25th of April, a good 30 days later than normal. We still have about 60 left to calf and they will be kept inside until the calf is up and suckling. It is far easier to rectify any problems at calving when they are inside.
Andy eventually got started on the 20th of April, and has been working long hours to try and catch up. I just hope we don’t end up with a long dry spell, or it will effect plant germination.
But going by the weather patterns in the last few years, it seems we get a long wet spell followed by a long dry spell.
It seems like I have had a long moan about the weather but in truth it affects everything we do on the farms.
On a lighter note we had a lamb born at Lochty in the shed, and I have to say he is one of the smallest lambs born and alive I have ever seen. My father who helps to feed and check sheep at lambing said he has rarely seen such a small lamb, and he has been a shepherd for 60 years. We have nicknamed him The Mighty Mouse.

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