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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WHO EWE LOOKIN' AT?

Driving around Donegal at the moment you can't fail to see all the lambs ~ well it is spring in Donegal after all.  The fields are full of ewes with their single, twin, triple and in one case I saw down by Lough Finn in Fintown, quadruple lambs!  The photograph below shows the ewe with her lambs although the fourth one is hidden from view here, it was definitely there.

Ewe with four lambs at Lough Finn
The lambs seem to interact with the other lambs in their field so well, a sort of ovine kindergarten if you will.  You see little heaps of them on mounds leaping over each other, butting each other and generally having all the carefree fun of the very young.  But in all cases there is mummy ewe nearby, munching away on grass but keeping a careful ear out for the calls of her off-spring.

Lambs at play in Donegal
Driving out to Fintown to take photographs at the weekend we had slowed down to view such a scene.  Lambs in abundance, dancing and leaping through their field.  The sheep saw us slowing down and immediately we caught their attention and they headed over to us in a great hurry.  Of course this was a photo opportunity not to be missed and we pulled over and out I leaped with my camera. 

Sheep and lambs rushed to the gate, bleating very loudly indeed.  I know that all animals are more protective when they have young but I had the gate between me and them to save me from any possible "attacks".  Any noise, like banging against the gate, made them take a step back but on lady (sheep) was not for turning and came right up to the gate, almost daring me to enter.

"Who ewe lookin' at?!"
She glared at me with her malevolent eyes and of course, delighted at all the sheep and lambs being up beside me, not to mention her cheeky face, I stared back and got lots of photographs of the "gang".

The lambs, being young, soon lost interest in the human at the gate and recommenced their play but the mother sheep continued to stare, taking their lead from the chief honcho out-front.  The noise at this stage was almost deafening by the way.  Ovine yelling of "GO AWAY OR ELSE!" I imagine they were bleating.

As I stood enjoying the aggression, that I know for a fact would have dissolved in all but the head honcho had I braved entry to the field and made a lot of noise.

A van drove up beside us and I knew he had to be the owner checking his flock.  He was.  He said he had to more or less continually, day and night, check his flock until all the lambs were born.  He had lost a couple of lambs during the birthing process in the past couple of days.  I never realised before that they needed so much human support to ensure a safe delivery of their young.

I pointed out the leader of the pack (flock) and we were laughing about her as she continued to hold her defensive stance.  I said she was so aggressive and bold compared to the rest and he confirmed that she was indeed the one who would "attack" interlopers and was very protective of her flock.

So next time you see a field of sheep and lambs and think you would be safe to approach because you can't see a ram, remember this ...

... the female is more deadly than the male!

To view the photographs of Fintown and Lough Finn CLICK HERE

4 comments:

  1. Brilliant piece and I enjoyed the read. Thank you.

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  2. You're welcome irishminx. Thanks for commenting and glad you enjoyed it.

    Catherine

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  3. Glad I surfed through the EI board...Happy Easter to you and yours.

    Slainte,
    Angh

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  4. Hi Angh

    Glad you did and happy you landed here! :-)

    A Happy Easter to you and yours too.

    Catherine

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