Today has been the most amazing day with the expectant mamas of the farm.
It started this morning. Our milking cow, Missy-Moo, is due to calve on the 23rd of April. The countdown is on, and as I watched her eating her porridge this morning I thought I saw a movement in her belly. Being as quiet as she is, I walked over and placed both my hands onto her stomach where I thought I saw the movement. I didn't have to wait long before I felt a very distinct movement happening inside - unmistakably her little calf kicking about in there.
That's the first time I've felt a baby moving inside an animal's belly and the delight I felt was akin to the thrill I got the first time I held an egg to my ear on its hatching day and heard it peep and peck at the shell inside.
This afternoon I stopped to look at the sheep before letting them through to their shed for the night. I've got one ewe who I purchased last year at the same time we bought the ram home. Minty has been running with Chilli Chops non-stop since then but hasn't lambed or shown any signs of falling pregnant. I was thinking if she doesn't lamb this time around I'll have to send her to the butcher for sausages. It sounds harsh, I know, but reality is on our small block of land I can't afford to feed animals that don't produce in some way.
Minty has been looking increasingly fat the last month or so, and then in the last week her udder has began to grow. I've felt hopeful, but not certain that she is in lamb. Some animals with hormone problems can have slight udder changes without actually being pregnant.
This afternoon however, her pregnancy was confirmed. As I stood looking at the flock I noticed her side bulging out and watched in amazement as I saw what was a pair of very lively hooves kicking at the stomach. It looked pretty painful, actually, and with the force those feet were kicking out made me wonder if there was more than one lamb in there playing football.
Only time will tell I suppose, but I'm so happy to be able to finally look forward to Minty having a baby.
Whilst I don't have a due date for Minty, lambing for most of the ewes is set to start from the 7th of June, followed by three more lambing in late winter and early Spring. (The late winter lambing was not my plan, Daisy, pictured above, took control of her own family planning!).
There are no calves to look forward to this year (aside from Missy's) as the dry weather has been so hard on the cattle for the last 12-18 months that we decided not to put them back in calf this year. I know we absolutely made the right decision but I am really going to miss those sweet little Lowline calves this year.
How did your week start?
I hope you have a good one!