Nature’s Exmoor ‘Springwatch’ at West Withy Farm.

Socks, the ram lamb at West Withy Farm with his replacement Mum. October 2013.

Socks, the ram lamb with replacement Mum. October 2013.

We have lots of signs of spring here at West Withy Farm – seasonal bulbs, of course and signs of catkins and pussy willow.

Our lake is quite crowded with about 10 wild mallard in addition to the usual residents.  Four seem like our regular mallard couples and there is lively competition among the other to find a mate.  In a quiet area of the small pond there is toad spawn which appeared last Tuesday.  And the Canada Geese have arrived on a short stop over on their journey to breeding grounds.  Our own geese are a bit intimidated by them and clearly resent the new occupants of ‘their lake’.

As of this morning, we had 12 lambs.  Daisy decided to go for an ‘all nighter’ with her labour  starting at 6pm. yesterday evening – by midnight, she had made little progress.  On checking her in the dawn light, she informed me ‘the head and ears are just too big’.  But a quick pull on two front legs which were also trying to emerge at the same time, sorted her problem and within 30 minutes, there was a second lamb – slightly smaller.  The two brothers are both doing well.

Socks – a Granddad

And Socks became a granddad at 3 years old.  Socks is our ram lamb born in 2013.  I was away for his birth at my parent’s birthdays, so Lorena was in charge of the maternity ward.  Eventually, Lorena sought help with his birth from Neil who trains the horses and after much struggling, a huge male lamb was born – Neil declared it the biggest lamb he had seen that year.

By the time I returned home, Lorena had decided ‘we would let him grow up to be a ram’.  He soon became a star attraction with our cottage guests because he was so much bigger than our other lambs.  Guests, Becky, Sarah and Sean named him ‘Socks’.

So began the delicate task of deciding at what point Socks should be separated from his Mother / the other mothers – and local advice said 6 months should be OK.  At 5 months, Socks was already starting to look quite ‘frisky’, so we separated him early.  The picture shows Socks soon adopted a ‘new Mum’ – more his size!!.

The following year, we weren’t expecting any lambs until  March, so were very surprised when a lamb arrived in January – and Socks was the only explanation!!.  Sock’s daughter has had a daughter of her own this week – making Socks a granddad at 3 years old!!

Canada Geese are frequent visitors to West Withy Farm lake

Canada Geese – frequent visitors to West Withy Farm lake


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