Ewes know instinctively what to do when their lambs are born. They clean off the mucus covering the lamb; they make encouraging murmuring noises to it; while washing the lamb they encourage it to stand and then suckle; they nibble through the umbilical cord and they eat the afterbirth – to make sure it doesn’t attract predators.
As with everything some mums are more enthusiastic than others, they want to make sure they do a proper job, they don’t want to be accused of not reading the manual properly or being sloppy.
Bobtail is a good mum. She had twin ram lambs (yes I know, it is year of the ram here) out in the field early on Sunday morning. She washed them well, she is protective of them – to the point of headbutting me out of the way when I go near them. She took the mothering instructions seriously -instead of chewing through the umbilical cord and leaving a good few inches that will eventually dry and drop off she nibbled it right back to their navels.
And then in a desire to tidy up and make everything neat and clean she nibbled off half of Lucas’ tail
Which to be fair is going too far and crosses over that thin line. There is always something new to learn.
N.B. don’t worry, he is doing fine. I put blue stuff on to clean it up and discourage further nibbling, then our friend Andrew ringed it.
N.B. we don’t usually dock our lambs tails, but in this instance it is the best thing to do.