All in a day's work!
Our Swaledale sheep are natural mothers which is why the majority of the flock lamb outside in the pastures surrounding the farmhouse. Outdoors they can find a quiet corner to give birth. They instinctively know that they must immediately lick the new lamb vigorously to dry it off and to promote circulation so that the lamb gets to its feet within minutes to feed. At the same time they both make a unique noise that ensures that when they become part of a flock the lamb will always recognise its mother and the mother will always recognise its lamb.
Right place, right time equals a happy ending
We do however lamb some sheep in the buildings including the shearlings (first time mums) as sometimes help can be required. And this morning was one of those occasions. I noticed this sheep was a-lambing as I went about my yard duties; checking lambs had suckled, filling water buckets and hay racks. She was having a single lamb so I intended to leave her to get on with it however something made me look again. Blow me, the lamb was there but the sheep hadn't got up to it! What was worse was the birthing sack hadn't broken. The camera got flung in the hay rack as I dashed acrossed, broke the membrane and cleared its mouth and airways. Had I not stopped for that second look this lamb would most certainly have suffocated. As it was, it gave a cough and splutter and took its first breath. Mum was soon to her feet and nature kicked in. I was not needed again and both are doing fine.