Our hardy Welsh Mountain Sheep aren’t really made for triplets — in ten years we’ve only had three sets. The first three were all born dead and the mother sadly also succumbed — our biggest ever lambing disaster!
We aren’t technological — we don’t scan, with less than thirty ewes it’s difficult and we don’t have the economy of scale. We know them all and if they are losing condition we just feed them more. It’s quite exciting seeing what we get — like Christmas!
The second set of triplets were born last year — I watched the first two, large, healthy lambs cavorting around in my torchlight and so retired to bed with a self-satisfied glow only to learn an important lesson in the morning — the third triplet, equally large and cleaned to a dazzling white was cold and dead on the grass.
This year we noticed the huge, strangely translucent, pink udder but this year we knew what it meant. It meant we had to watch out for a third lamb.
This year ‘Number 32’ has produced three healthy lambs, though the third didn’t breath immediately and had completely escaped his mother’s attention and would have perished like last year’s — remember sheep can usually only count up to two!
Fortunately, learning from my mistakes, I sat and watched all afternoon while the first two were meticulously cleaned and properly fed, then Bingo! Number three arrived, not breathing and with very soggy sounding lungs but nothing a traditional swing or two and some frantic chest compressions would not sort out — amazing! The swinging really does seem to shift the fluid — I had never really believed it.
Then of course I had to wait till he’d been cleaned and slowly fed, and then some more — we don’t intend to be caught out by our first quads!