Thursday, 31 January 2008

A woolly tale...

We have a small flock of Lleyn cross ewes and a ram. A nice little closed flock. But from time to time we get the odd interloper and that is exactly what happened yesterday.

She was a tiny little thing, straight off the mountain, with tiny little Welsh Mountain sheep's ears in which there was an eartag. Catching her was simple for she was collapsed in one of our fields. Mum and I read the tag and spent a 'jolly' half hour half-carrying, half-coaxing this little thing down into the barn. Finally, muddy, with our backs screaming in pain, we got her inside and penned her with some hay and a bucket of water. The hurdles surrounding her were largely superfluous as she just lay down, pointing her nose towards the sky, as if waiting for death. She was obviously in lamb and something should be done about her, but we are talking farm economics here. She wasn't one of ours (who watched the events disinterestedly from the next field up) and we were faced with a horrible dilemma of intervening or not, either way would cost us vets fees or knackerman's fees.

Mum rang around some local farmers last night, with no luck. Then this morning she contacted Animal Health and gave them the flock number. Leave it with me, said the official. She did.

Less than half an hour later a Land Rover pulled up and out hopped Jolly Farmer and Mrs Jolly Farmer. Mum took them and gave them the ewe. JF popped it nimbly under one arm and then into the back of the Land Rover. Then they told the tale of the sheep.

It all began 18 months ago when JF rented a field from one of our neighbours. It needed new fencing, so the neighbour said of course he would fence it, and duly JF arrived and put several hundred sheep into the field. Except the neighbour had 'forgotten' 30 feet or so of the fence. Every single last one of the sheep escaped (of course!) and JF and Mrs JF have spent the last year and a half rounding them up. This one had obviously been living somewhere else in the meantime. Presumably she lambed, then she was shorn and put to the ram again. Now she obviously has twin lamb disease, so she's off for a dose of calcium and a big crossing of fingers.

JF has, in the meantime, got rid of his sheep, apart from half a dozen or so, plus this one. She's had quite an adventure, poor little thing. I checked her teeth and she's broken mouthed, so I think, even if she does survive the twin lamb, this is the end of her adventure. As James Herriot once so famously said: "If only they could talk."


  1. Nature, I guess. Lovely that you tried to rescue her though.

    Crystal xx

  2. Ah bless. We had a sheep join us for a while - trouble was she kept encouraging my two to jump out of the field. Then oneday when I went to find my sheep she wasn't with them - I took my sheep home and they have stayed in the field ever since.

  3. She could certainly tell you a tale or three.
    Its diffiuclt not to try and rescue these creatures if you are an animal lover.

  4. Awwww i'm forever rescueing sheep, a negligent neighbours, good for you xxhope she lives.

  5. You know I want to know more now. Does the sheep go on to lamb and have twins? And what does broken mouthed mean? That she can't eat grass? Poor sheep.

  6. we have had interlopers as well...they just appear somehow. The last one was with us for two years ear tag. Strangely enough she was tame and went on to have beautiful lambs!


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