The Hills Are Alive

The hills are alive with the sound of sheep. Lambing is not as quiet as you might think from the picturesque scenes.

There are all types of moms and all types of chatter. Ewes so attentive to their lambs they don’t get more than five steps away from them and murmur to them frequently.
Ewes who stray while lambie naps and then bellow for them to wake up and catch up.
Ewes who bellow at the sound of any other lamb crying.

There are lambs who keep so close to mom they almost trip her. And lambs who begin to stray from mom by the end of the first week and seem oblivious to her hollering in panic for them. There are lambs who are constantly at the neighbours, looking for a snack.
When a ewe loses a lamb to death there is hours of crying.
Often a lamb will pop out of a sound sleep, gawk around, and then leap to his feet, realizing he’s got no ewe. This scenario results in a ear piercing little lambie baaahh that gets the attention of every ewe on the place.
When I catch each lamb to dock a tail or band for castration there is a great amount of noise and activity from the mother.

Moving up to join the next group

When I’m moving the lambed group up to join with others there is  a lot of sheep talk as ewes keep their lambs with them. If pushed too hard and forced to mix, there is a lot of confusion and bawling. Keeping a slow steady pace and letting the family units have room between each other keeps the peace. 

I know I’m well into lambing when the lamb races begin. I watched the first little lamb race last evening. The lambs are still young and the races start out with very short hill side sprinting and leaping with a twin or with a fellow lamb from whoever happens to be next door that day. The ewes always close by.  As lambs grow the races progress into long hill side races with an entire gaggle of lambs running full out, leaping and twisting in the air as they feel the desire.  The ewes are in the distance lifting a head now and then to check the surroundings, occasionally getting sucked into the foray and joining a race.