The final flock of last year's spring lambs were graded ready for sale and have been collected. Now it is hoped that many of the recently born lambs will be finished ready for the Easter marketplace.

As all the next flock of ewes, due to give birth at the end of March are at pasture ; also the ewe lambs (female lambs born last spring ), which will come into the main flock as two-year-olds, and the rams, it became necessary to move many of them to pasture on other farms needing grazing. Some of the workforce were therefore deployed to go fencing as the majority the ewes currently lambing had given birth.

Kevin stayed behind to prepare the later-born lambs and their mothers (in individual pens ), to be put into yarded groups. Before this can be done each ewe and it's offspring are sprayed with a coloured number so that they can be easily identified, the first born starting with a number one.

Each lamb is also given an ear tag with the flock number. As these lambs will not be kept for breeding they are not required to have individual ID. Kevin also makes sure that the cord from the navel has dried up properly. This is important as when the lambs are born their navels and remaining umbilical cord is dipped with an iodine solution . This is to prevent infections entering the lambs via this route. Disinfecting the navel, which at birth is a prime entry site, helps to prevent newborn lambs and calves from being infected by a bacteria which causes joint ill. As its name suggests, this bacteria affects the joints, particularly the knees, causing them to swell and become very painful.

Once Kevin had finished tagging and numbering and the sheep fencing erected by Ian and Marcus, it was time to collect collies Smudge, Winston and Star to do some serious sheep moving. This also involved taking transport as the distances were too far to walk the sheep. All the movements were completed successfully and the collies enjoyed their work, although they needed a good wash when they arrived back at Manor Farm. Unfortunately only one of the collies is short coated so you can imagine how muddy the other two were.

We now have a small creche of 15 orphan lambs . Some of these are genuine orphans, but the others are lambs from multiple births that couldn't be fostered or were rejected by their mothers. These lambs are being bottle fed with sheep milk replacer three times a day and are in a small pen together with a heat lamp above it . They look very cosy.

Usually in a lambing season a few ewes give birth to black lambs or they may have black markings.This season has been no exception with the birth of two black lambs, a ewe and a ram. The ewe lamb will join Annabel's small flock of pets and it is hoped to keep the ram lamb entire in order to breed a few more black rams that can be used as teasers (vasectomised rams) Vacectomised rams are put with the ewes prior to introducing the rams, to encourage them to come into oestrous. As you may have guessed these two lambs have already been named. The female is called Hazel and the male Licorice.

During the week one of our Angus calves was treated for pneumonia and is now well on the road to recovery. There are now only a few of the early ewes left to give birth, so Jenny , Melissa and I are no longer required to feed, water and bed up ewes with lambs in individual pens. That is, until the March lambing flock begins to give birth!