A LACK of feed means a tough start to life for some lambs.
Ascot farmer Stuart Sobey has four “orphaned” lambs being reared by bottle because their mothers have either died or walked away. They are the lucky ones.
“We’re hoping to find mothers for them in the next few days from those ewes who may have lost a lamb of their own,” Mr Sobey explains.
“They normally take to it, nine times out of 10, if you do it early enough. It’s like any animal or even people for that matter. Those ewes just want to be mothers.
“One of the lambs is probably too old, but the other three are only a couple of days old. We’ll have to keep feeding that one with the bottle.
“It is very expensive trying to rear lambs with cows milk, and nothing beats mother’s milk.”
Mr Sobey said the healthy rainfall of the past few weeks had been welcome but came too late for some of his ewes. Immediately following that rain there has been a cold spell that has put the brakes on any potential pasture growth.
He said the lack of feed, along with the cold weather itself, would take its toll on many lambs in the region.
“I think thousands of lambs will lose their lives around the district. It is a tragedy in itself but it’s also about our income.
“A dead lamb is no good to anyone,” Mr Sobey admitted.
“I run 1700 ewes and this season broke too late for us, and it got too cold too quick. It’s green but we won’t get the pasture growth.
“We’ve had three inches of rain in the last few weeks but it has come a month too late, really.
“We got a bit of a kick along due to the rain but now the frost has set in, and with the cold soil, the grass won’t grow.
“A lot of the sheep have twins. Those with twins are really struggling.
“Last year we had a dreadful spring with the lack of rain, so we’re hoping for a good spring this year.”