The lambing has not started well at all.
My beautiful first sheep, Bonnie, was lying asleep in her little pen when we checked her today. We thought she was asleep and I am so upset because she had died through the night. Her unborn twin lambs had died as well.
We had tried all we could to help her and the vet said that we had to hope that she would pick up....
Many, many farmers know how we feel right now as they have been there too. You go out in all weathers, offer the best feed, lug fresh water, sit half the night with a poorly animal and always hope for the best but expect the worst.
I have seen the look on my husband's face when he has stayed up all night in the cow shed then admitted defeat and called for the vet to come and help.
Both Farmer and vet emerging exhausted hours later, having tried their best with a struggling cow. Sometimes the effort is worthwhile and a tiny calf lies protected by it's mother. Sometimes the travail is futile and an air of silence befalls the farm and the men.
We understand but feel sad and respect the silence.
I have worked at many different jobs in my life, have studied medicine and horticulture, trained as an illustrator and welder but my dream job was to be a shepherd. My father would not allow it - he felt it was a man's job.....
Dad and I often spent a day or evening discussing the various merits of such and such a breed of sheep and he would launch into all the things which could (and do) happen to sheep. He knew his stuff having spent almost all of his life working with domestic animals.
He never saw my tiny flock - Bonnie was my husband's present to me for producing our son....
I tried to remember all that Dad had taught me and with The Farmer's help, managed to increase the flock and rear lovely, healthy sheep.
Bonnie was a character, a little spoiled, very spirited but an excellent mother.
I just feel so sad today but know that we gave her the best care we could.
The other sheep are due to lamb very soon - they are the third generation from Bonnie and may well have her characteristics and good nature.
Life goes on but what passes is not forgotten.