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Photographer's Note

The following information has been taken from the web.

UPDATE: I have posted an unsharpened version of the shot as a WS.


'Unlike most other farm animals, sheep are seasonal breeders and lamb in the spring months when the weather is warming and ample supplies of grass are available.

Sheep can be housed for lambing or are more commonly brought to a field close to the farmyard where the shepherd can keep an eye on them.
The first sign of lambing comes when the ewe leaves the rest of the flock and finds a quiet location in which to lamb. Within an hour or so, labour will start.

Lambs are normally born head first with the front feet tucked up under the chin.
Sheep generally lamb freely without intervention, but periodically a lamb may be breached in the womb or otherwise displaced and the ewe may require assistance from the shepherd.

The moment of birth. Once the head and shoulders are through the rest of the lamb is pushed out very quickly.

At birth lambs are often born with mucus membranes covering their faces. The ewe will instinctively clear this by licking the newborn lamb.
If the shepherd is nearby he will assist by removing the membranes and placing the lamb in front of the ewe.
Licking will continue for some minutes and during this time the lamb will be gaining strength and starting to think about milk!

After the first lamb, the second quickly follows. Some breeds of sheep have only one lamb. This is a survival mechanism for sheep that live in cold hilly conditions where ewes may have insufficient milk for two lambs and where hypothermia can quickly kill.

In just fifteen minutes both lambs have been born. After birth the "after birth" will follow. This is the mucal lining that has contained the lambs within the womb. Part of this can be seen trailing from the rear of the ewe. Sometimes the ewe will eat her own afterbirth.

The urge to suck is very strong in the new born lamb and within 20 minutes the lamb will be looking for milk. The shepherd may assist the lamb if it is struggling to find the ewe's teat.
The first few days of milk contain "colostrum". This is a very thick form of milk that is produced only at birth by the ewe. It contains many beneficial antibodies that help prevent the lamb from becoming ill.
Some lambs are not so lucky however. The ewe may reject the lamb or sometimes simply have insufficient milk to feed it. Lambs in this situation become orphans and are looked after directly by the shepherd'.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Wilkinson (wilkinsonsg) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 879 W: 48 N: 1446] (8662)
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