Making haste slowly


What you soon learn when lambing sheep is that it always starts with disaster. When you stop to think about it, this is probably inevitable, because you have a lot of sheep reaching late pregnancy together. With a dairy herd, calving tends to be far more spread out, so triumphs and disasters come at random throughout the year. But with sheep you’ll often get a rush of premature or sickly lambs at the start of lambing, and then the flock largely passes through that phase (you hope) and normality is restored.

But it does mean that early lambing can be more stressful and depressing than it really needs to be. As you get older and more experienced, you just come to expect it.

As you can see we’ve got most of the ladies in. They’ve got a bedded building to sleep in, but we put the silage in this building for them. It’s open, light and will at least mean they can mouch around in the dry if it does rain. Obviously it’s not desperately warm with an easterly wind blowing but they’ve all got their winter coats on. Also if it does get that cold they can go inside their bedded building.




Also looking across the yard and eastwards you can see that at the moment we’ve no snow, so here’s hoping it will stay like that.

Mind you, feeding the others who are still outside was fun. Riding into the wind on the quadbike was painful. I was glad that I got into the habit of wearing amber tinted safety glasses after my cataract surgery, because they at least keep the wind out of my eyes and I didn’t have to squint.

Interestingly the sheep who are still outside do seem a lot happier. Whilst it might be cold, it is at least dry and a bit of cold breeze doesn’t bother them in the slightest. In fact if you get out of the wind and keep in the sun it is actually rather pleasant.

Certainly looking out from the top of the hill where I was feeding sheep the view was stunning. It’s obvious that the Western Pennines haven’t had a lot of snow yet, and the Lake District fells don’t seem to have much more coverage than they had previously. Indeed Black Combe doesn’t have any real snow cover at all. But with the sun shining on it all the view was well worth a bit of  chill breeze.

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16 thoughts on “Making haste slowly

  1. oldhenwife February 27, 2018 at 1:54 pm Reply

    We’ve got all your snow. This morning I saw a quad bike being used as a gritter. No sheep around here to feed or round up. I’m wearing my knee length sheepskin boots and sheepskin jacket, thick but windproof even with the fleece inside.

    • jwebster2 February 27, 2018 at 4:58 pm Reply

      We’re OK, I had to go to Penrith which means the M6 over Shap, and up there was a blizzard. But the road was well gritted and the traffic kept it clear. It was just the six miles north of Tebay. Either side of the summit was bright sunshine and very pleasant!

  2. oldhenwife February 27, 2018 at 6:35 pm Reply

    Yes, sunny here too, most of the time. The pv panels have been racking up units on the meter! Even the domestic hot water panel has been heating the ground water a few degrees, saving the boiler a few minutes of burning fossil fuel. There was a bit of a blizzard when i came back from the dentist but the traffic wasn’t slowed much, unlike some times in the past. But there again, it’s newsworthy if there’s 5″ of snow these days, in the past it was just snow.

    • jwebster2 February 27, 2018 at 10:00 pm Reply

      My father in law came to live with us when he was 90 because he was struggling on his own. He’d lived all his life just outside London and worked in London.
      When he read in the paper that the London buses had stopped running because of a bit of show he was utterly astonished

  3. jenanita01 February 28, 2018 at 10:24 am Reply

    Hope that most of the bad weather passes over you and your lambs!

    • jwebster2 February 28, 2018 at 10:46 am Reply

      Yes. To be fair it’s better it came now. If it came in three weeks time when we’d a lot of little ones out, then it would be far worse. We’d be scurrying round trying to get them in and find somewhere to house them.
      The unborn lamb rarely suffers from hypothermia 🙂

      • jenanita01 March 1, 2018 at 10:38 am

        Fingers crossed this is the last of it then!

      • jwebster2 March 1, 2018 at 11:02 am


  4. oldhenwife February 28, 2018 at 11:52 am Reply

    Yes. In The Olden Days when Mummy was a little girl bad snow was when Snake Pass was closed, newspapers showed aerial photographs of the odd vehicle stranded on the A66 and sheep were buried in drifts – but got out alive.. Yesterday the poor folk in the s**th had two centimetres of the stuff. but they persevered and most got to work, bless ’em. Here just now there must be easily the best part of two inches and it’s still coming down. The chickens came out though. I think they like to be the first to leave footprints – don’t we all!

    • jwebster2 February 28, 2018 at 12:53 pm Reply

      I remember being the last person across Snake Pass, it was closed behind us mainly because the driver behind me bottled it and the turned folk round and sent them down to Sheffield again 🙂
      That was in March as well

  5. patriciaruthsusan March 1, 2018 at 12:34 pm Reply

    I remember reading about people digging sheep out of snow drifts. That had to be rough. You’ve been doing that work long enough to have it down to a fine art. My mother used to tell me about life on a farm and even taught me how to call pigs but I doubt I’ll ever use that skill. 😀 — Suzanne

  6. patriciaruthsusan March 1, 2018 at 12:35 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Tending sheep in an English winter.

  7. davidprosser March 1, 2018 at 1:55 pm Reply

    Poor forecast again Jim, I hope you avoid the worst of it but even so you’ll be left with this Siberian Biting Wind that has teeth.

    • jwebster2 March 1, 2018 at 2:18 pm Reply

      yes, it’s an evil lazy wind

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