Most of our ewes are wonderful mothers. This one is Patch, is no exception but things haven't gone as well for her this year as she would have wished. She's letting us know about it. Loudly.
Her lamb was born yesterday morning and straight away it was obvious something was not right. It couldn't lift its head. That's disastrous for a lamb - it couldn't reach up to its mum to get milk. My mum milked the thankfully amenable ewe and we spent considerable chunks of yesterday getting the poor thing to drink it.
Late last night when I should have been snuggled in the comforts of my bed I was sitting with the lamb on my lap feeding it a bottle of milk, knowing my efforts were probably futile.
This morning when the vet was here to assist with a difficult lambing she had a look and said it looked as if the lamb's cerebellum was not developed.
"Shall I...?" said the vet reluctantly. She did.
Patch, meanwhile, was desperately calling for her baby. My long suffering and fortunately widely skilled husband had the task of skinning the lamb and slipping its coat, like over big pyjamas, on to another lamb born yesterday to an elderly ewe that has no milk.
Patch got this oddment back - a scrap of a thing in another lamb's clothing. Will she transfer her motherly love to this one? Watch this space.
Meanwhile the other mother, the one the vet had attended to, was lying exhausted in her pen. Her lambs - huge twins - had tried to be born side by side and failed. The vet went in to sort them out but it was too late for one of them. Mother love? It's tough when you're a sheep.
All this happened before breakfast as the sun rose on an exquisite misty morning. The birds sang in the trees and more blossom bloomed in the early spring sunshine.