Well not technically in the garden and if it gets in the garden there will be less of the cute, but for now they are in their little house and they are the cutest lambs in the world since last year’s ones.
We built a nice little shelter for then beside the chicken coop, put up a fence and a gate and stood back and congratulated ourselves on how far we had come. This is our fifth year keeping lambs – well technically four as one year we couldn’t find lambs and had to buy the adorable Sweetie and Snowy who we love – except when they escape and get into my garden – then not so much with the love.
The first year we really didn’t know what we were doing as we were only a couple of years out of the city and were still glowing with that city slicker shine. We put the lambs in with the chickens that year. For the record – chicken wire is for chickens, not actively growing lambs. I can’t tell you how many times we patched that fence after each escape.
We have come a long way since then. We have a shiny new shelter for them. And we introduced the new lambs to their new home, with their fluffy hay bed and they had a look around and then climbed out through the gaps in the gate and the squares in the wire fence. While it was technically sheep wire the fence was made of – lambs come in really small sizes! So I had to drag over the huge and heavy roll of wire and hammer it to the fence on top of the existing fence so it was over lapping and the gaps were smaller. I didn’t hit my fingers too many times. It was cutting the wire with the wire cutters which was the hard bit. Then I put a mesh over the gate and the babies are now safely inside. So while we have come a long away – we still haven’t come that far at all.
Now we have four lambs where we normally have two. Once a year the kids need to raise a new born lamb, to train them to come when their name was called, and teach them how to navigate a an obstacle course, and they will also be judged on how well they have raised their lambs. They do this as a school project called calf club. Other kids from school will be raising lambs, goats, cows and chickens. It is a really exciting day and hopefully the lambs will come away with a ribbon and if we are really lucky a cup or trophy. (Really lucky!) Kids in rural schools all over the country do calf club. It’s a kiwi thing! These lambs are really tiny. They were born on the 18th August and are cute and adorable and fluffy and love being around us and did I say cute.
The other two show how far we have come… although time may show how far we still have to go. The other two are two weeks old and didn’t start out around people so aren’t so friendly, which makes bottle feeding them interesting. They are supposed to be for the table, so we have to try really hard to not get emotionally attached. The kids think we will be taking them back to the farm with the calf club lambs at the end of the season where they will become wool sheep and will be swapped for meat.
The first night is always hard. Going out in the cold and dark to do the late night feed and then checking in the morning to make sure they survived the night. Added to this, early in the morning was a nasty electrical storm with thunder and lightning and torrential rain and the backyard flooded. So the morning feed was really soggy. Oh the joys of raising lambs! Every year we forget the hard bits and excitedly bring home the cutest bundles of lamby joy! Oh what fun we shall have!
Come again soon – the old greenhouse is definitely coming down – once I figure out what to do with rusted bolts!
Sarah the Gardener : o )