Barefoot And Pregnant In A Barn
Tamara and I went to a farm near Edinburgh yesterday where we saw a mixed flock of expectant ewes standing in a barn. They were panting in measured breaths, waiting for labour to begin.
The sense of expectation in the air was palpable as the ewes stood there patiently, looking as though they were coping and putting up with a rising tide of discomfort.
They were also very friendly, coming over and accepting tidbits from us. We felt we were doing double duty – not only feeding them and being friendly, but also distracting their attention for a few minutes from the business of waiting.
Tamara and I have spent hours watching sheep in the fields. Their gentle ruminations instil a sense of peace and wellbeing in us. Corny perhaps, but true.
Timing The Lambing Season
As I wrote in this article about advance planning for lambing in the Yorkshire Dales, farmers try to arrange things the previous year so that the lambs for the whole flock are born over a period of just a few days.
And when the flock comes together near the end of their pregnancies – as here in this barn – the hormones floating in the air encourage all the sheep to begin labour more or less together.
The hormones in the breeze probably also account for the slightly awestruck look in the faces of the sheep as they stand there.
We’ll make a close up version of the image at the top of this article and add it to the Animals section in our ecard collection.