Lambing In Scotland

pregnant ewe standing and panting

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.

newborn lamb in a field next to its mother
Newborn Lamb
Ewe With Lambs


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.


  1. Esther Hecht says

    How interesting! I didn’t know any of these things about sheep.
    Years ago attended a wedding where I chatted with two of my cousins whose first name is the same of mine and who were at the same advanced stage of pregnancy as I was. I guess that’s as close as I ever got to the sheep situation ewe describe.

    • David Bennett says

      Yes, I have wondered sometimes what the human race would be like if women only came into estrus at certain short periods of the year like most breeds of sheep do. 😉

  2. says

    Brilliant piece David. We will be visiting are local farm in similar fashion at the end of the month. Thing is things seem a bit slow down here at the moment, very few signs of Spring to be honest. The Daffs are coming out but many of them are “blind” this year, some crocuses but no sign of any little lambs yet… So maybe spring is not so much late as being back on course compared to recent years where many things have been early.

    • David Bennett says

      Thanks, Nick. I had to look up what a blind daffodil is. 😉

      Even more strange about them because there are swathes of daffodils in flower here and have been for a couple of weeks.

  3. says

    You’re right, there is something peaceful about watching sheep. Something about lambing season, too, isn’t there… – spring in the air and a general feel of optimism.

  4. says


    I replied to your comment in my blog. I also read you have lived here in Finland. That’s wonderful! How did you like it here?

    Greetings Akseli

    • David Bennett says

      Yes, I was there for about four years (with some breaks).

      I thought it was a country that had its priorities right – good transport system, etc. – a very civilised place – easy to live there – easy people to get on with – everything great except for the darkness in late November, December 😉

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