I spotted two new lambs first thing, still wet and lying down with their mums. When we went with the iodine spray two hours later, we counted three new ones. The one I missed must have been born earlier and therefore been fluffy, dry and running around with the older ones.
‘Broken horn’ is so named because one of her horns broke off a few years ago, she is one of today’s new mums. Horns are made of keratin like your nails and hollow inside. They do bleed when they break off, but quickly heal when we treat the wound with ‘purple spray’. The purple spray is that colour so that you can see at a glance which sheep you have recently sprayed with antiseptic (have any of you used savalon spray on cuts?). But that doesn’t work with black sheep. Sadly, the white paint they use for road markings would not be safe to use on sheep.
It’s not unusual that mum nibbles the tail by mistake when she is licking and nibbling off the amniotic sack and umbilical cord. One of today’s arrivals has a bleeding end to its tail. The lambs don’t seem to respond to pain; I imagine just being born is a huge shock. So that one had a spray on its tail as well as its umbilical cord.
Another new mum I call Poll, which means a sheep without horns. You may have noticed Poll Dorset sheep in the fields between Durweston Bridge and Knighton, they are white with no horns and a lovely round face. How many breeds of sheep do you think there are in Britain?
I have learnt the hard way that our sheep fight really hard if I try to use their horns as handle- bars. Poll is lovely because she can’t accidentally hurt me when I hold her. She also so greedy that she has a sort of bald ring around her neck; she is always putting her head through the fence to eat the brambles on the other side. The grass is always greener….
Until now I didn’t know there was a song about horns: