Farming Matters: Sheep make lovely pets

Farmer Geoff Brunt with a new born lamb
Farmer Geoff Brunt with a new born lamb
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This week saw the start of lambing for us. We have yet to see triplets this year, but most of the births so far have been sets of twins, rather than singles.

My husband checks the flock several times a day and within a day or two of birth he marks the ewes and their lambs with the same number so that we know who belongs to whom.

This is also a good chance for him to check the general health of the lambs and make sure they are strong and are feeding well.

Our adult children came home for the weekend as it was Mother’s Day and so we all went out together to see the flock.

I am rather fond of sheep and they can become very tame when they are bottle fed.

I once had a black sheep, a Suffolk Jacob cross, who was a triplet and her mother couldn’t cope with all three.

So I took her in as a pet and she followed me everywhere and would even walk along the footpath on a lead.

She grew up in the garden and the house and was hand fed for a year, on bottled milk, bread, milled barley and grass.

But she always spent a large part of each day out in the orchard with the rest of the sheep, so when she was fully grown she was happy enough to live with them permanently.

She always remained friendly however and was incredibly useful whenever we needed to bring the flock in for any reason.

Because all I had to do was call her name and hold a bowl of barley or a slice of granary bread and she would come thundering over to me, and the restof the sheep would follow!

We certainly didn’t need a sheepdog to round them up.