Riddlesden Jacobs

A site about a West Yorkshire flock of Jacob Sheep

Stealing Babies

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Catch up Blog 3. I mentioned the dark faced ewe (Number 1) behaving a bit oddly on Thursday. Well she went totally weird yesterday (Saturday). We had been trying to keep an eye on our oldest and most experienced two horn ewe, Number 12. She had been looking thoroughly fed up for days and was just huge. I’d noticed the black faced one going to her quite a bit on Friday but on Saturday she just wouldn’t leave her alone.

We got a call from Kath’s mum around 8.30am saying that Number 12 was off on her own standing and staring. We went to the field. She wasn’t obviously in labour and she was with the black faced ewe. We went and had a cup fo tea and then came back. The black faced ewe was now glued to Number 12. Whenever Number 12 took a step so did she. Number 12 was clearly getting agitated by her but she wouldn’t leave her alone. We made two unsuccessful attempts at seperating them but we were risking stressing Number 12 even further. We just watched from a distance.

After an hour or so the ewes all settled down again and Number 1 left number 12 alone so we went and had lunch and then came back just to see the two ewes glued together again with Number 12 trying to walk away from Number 1. We were  debating what to do and wondering if we needed to try again to separate them. Number 12 didn’t look like she was in active labour but she did stop frequently and went crouched a little as if to pee – she didn’t seem to be straining at all though. In the middle of that conversation Kath looked up and said ‘ She’s just popped out a lamb’ – and she had. Just like that.

Both Number 12 and Number 1 were  licking the lamb. Kath approached but backed off because both ewes backed away from the lamb as she got close. They both continued washing it.  Number 1 was so frantic she actually rolled the lamb down the hill and Number 12 was getting increasingly agitated. We had to do something. We walked towards them cautiously – we didn’t want both of them to abandon the lamb. Kath tried to get hold of Number 1 but couldn’t hold her so we decided to take them in. Kath picked the lamb up and both ewes followed bleating and trying to get to the lamb and lick it. I followed behind. We got Number 12 into the shed and penned and Number 1 continued to bleat and try and get to the lamb. She seemed really upset that Kath had taken her baby off her eventhough it wasn’t her lamb.

Has anyone else experienced this? Number 1 had twins last year both of which died and she spent a week or so walking the field bleating for them so we wondered whether her hormones and instincts were just in overdrive.

 

 

Author: Jess Guth

Dr Jess Guth is a Senior Lecturer in Law. She blogs at jessguth.com She also doesn't really run - reallynotarunner.com

One thought on “Stealing Babies

  1. Pingback: Meet Kevin and Snuffles | Riddlesden Jacobs

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