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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Lambing At Charlecote Park


Lambing is an amazing time of year and one of the many things I really enjoy as a volunteer at Charlecote Park. The Jacob lambs are so very cute and if you are visiting over the next two weeks, why not join one of the organised walks through West Park up to Polo field to see these beautiful new arrivals for yourself. They have arrived just in time for Easter, which I think makes it even more special. Chocolate Eggs and newborn lambs, just so perfect for Easter!

                                                 Meet Lisa the first born lamb.


Isn't she gorgeous?


This little lamb was the cutest yesterday and the first born but she was born a little small and possibly a little earlier than she should have been. She won everyone's hearts. She was having a little trouble trying to feed from her mother so Adam, Charlecote's Head Ranger, gave her a little of the special formula milk. Some lambs just need a little helping hand, just like some babies do.


She was soon feeding from her mother and running around the pen as happy as could be. I have heard she is doing really well today.


Isn't Spring an amazing time? Everything starts to grow again and we have new life too. It really is a  time for re-awakening. Park walks to see the lambs start again tomorrow, the 6th of April until the 15th of April so plenty of time to see them during the Easter holidays.



Last year I kept missing all the births. They always seemed to happen just before I visited or just after. Yesterday was so special to me. I saw two sets of twins being born which was quite something to see. I did manage to record some of it but only one of the births as there is not always enough warning before these little fellows pop out, especially the second ones. I do have some lovely footage of the seconds after they were born. Their mothers clean them and the lambs taking their first steps. It was really beautiful to watch. I will add the video at the end of this blog for you to see if you wish.



 It is such a special bond between mother and baby and it is the same with Jacob sheep.
Here are a couple of photos of the newborns just seconds old. Isn't it amazing, within a few minutes, these newborn lambs are on their feet while still being cleaned by their mother.


Here is the second set of twins I saw being born. The sack the lambs come out of during their birth is  yellow which is why they look like they do. Slowly the mother will clean them until they look like the fluffy little lamb everyone knows. I could have shown you just the fluffy pictures but this is new life and when it first comes in to the World, it is so wonderful. I though some people might like to see exactly how it is. Plenty of fluffy pictures to come over the next few weeks.


 The lamb standing is only about five minutes old. The one laying down is seconds old. The mother is busy trying to clean them both. It is very important not to get too close to mothers giving birth, especially if they are a first time mothers which some of these are. It can scare them and they might run off and leave their newborn lambs. I had a very long lens on my camera to take these photos.
It still amazes me how quick animals stand up after being born. Nature is amazing!


 The Rangers do not interfere with lambing and allow the lambs to be born naturally in the field they graze. Jacob sheep are said to be one of the best type of sheep for lambing and lamb easily. If there is a problem, the Ranger will help.
After their birth, they are left with their mother for a little time to allow the bond but watched from a safe distance to make sure all is OK. Once the bond is there to see, the Ranger (Adam this time) will pick the young up and slowly move them over to a special enclosed pen where they will be checked and kept an eye on for the first couple of days. The mother will not leave their side so by moving the lambs, it is easy to move the mother too. The pen area is what you see on the organised walks.


The pen is divided into two areas, one for the newborns and one for the day old lambs which are tagged. The first area gives mother (Ewe) and lambs their own private safe area for the bonding to continue.

Twin lambs happily relax in one of the units for the first day or two. 


Nick who is also a ranger, was looking after these beauties when I arrived.



The second part of the pen is still a small enclosed area but out in the open where the lambs can learn to explore and walk a little more. Rangers can still keep a close eye on them here. 


I love watching the lambs, they keep falling over and then just get back up again. They are all legs when first born. Very long legs.



It is lovely to watch the closeness between them. Definitely an 'aahhhhh' moment. :)


Number 1 and number 2.


Once the Ranger is happy with the lambs, they will be put into the main field to run as much as they wish and I can tell you, within a couple of days they have found their feet quite well. Jacob sheep are a very old and rare breed which makes new life even more special. Each new lamb will help keep the line going and what beautiful lambs they are. I feel very privileged to have witnessed these births. Such an amazing experience and a great added bonus to volunteering. If you go to see the lambs over the next two weeks, take a pair of binoculars or a camera with you if you have them. You might just see a birth yourself. Or just enjoy the view of the bouncing lambs around the pen.


Pure love. It doesn't get much better than this. :)


More photos will come over the next couple of weeks but for now, here are the video clips as promised. If you are squeamish, don't watch as I am no expert when it comes to videos and I can not blur parts of the film out. It isn't bad, honest. What I can say is that it is an amazing thing to watch and so natural. For those who do watch it, I hope you enjoy it as it is something you don't see everyday.

The next photo below show the start of the first labour then I switched to video mode.

                                                    The head is out!


 The video is a little long but I couldn't cut any more out of it as I loved it all. Make yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy. I am sure there will be a few smiles along the way as you see the lambs learn to walk. :) If you watch the video full screen, change the settings to 1080HD for a better picture.    

                         Nature at it's best, bringing new life in to this world.

                       
               A BIG thanks to Adam, Nick and their team for an amazing day.



                                                    Copyright Jana Eastwood

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