Four-thirty in the morning and I stumble out of bed and straight to the sheep shed. Liz will have turned in at about 2pm so hopefully there are not too many mix-ups. I pull out any that have lambed and get back for the first caffeine fix of the day.
By 5.30am I’m awake enough to check the individual pens, always keeping one eye on the singles as we need to wet foster as many triplets as possible. It’s soon 7.30am and the team convene for breakfast.
While Liz tails and rings those to be turned out, our two Bristol vet students and I feed cake to the flock, barley to the cattle, fill the orphan lamb milk feeders and move the electric fence on the roots. After tea break and Radio 2’s “pop master”, it’s turnout.
Each grazing field has a designated colour to ensure that should a lamb wriggle under a gate it can be easily identified and returned. Numbering lambs is Liz’s department and an unauthorised alteration to her blackboard is a capital offence.
Ewes are wormed and the progeny of the trial rams permanently marked. Weather permitting, about 40 couples are good to go. Those going to nearby fields are transported in the quad trailer while those heading farther afield go a dozen at a time in the Land Rover and stock trailer. This year there is a good bite of grass in front of them so supplementary feeding post lambing is not necessary.
Having cleared the lines, the girls spend the afternoon disinfecting and bedding pens while I top up silage and bed the cattle. The day is constantly interrupted by the usual disasters, mishaps and triumphs of lambing but by the time you read this it will nearly be over for another year.