In like a Lion…out with LAMBS…and PIGLETS!

By Michele Wales, Farm Program Coordinator
Dorset ewe and Dorset/Suffolk twins. Photo by Michele Wales.

March has been one busy month at Coverdale Farm.  Monday, March 22nd was a record breaking day for Jim Wolfer, Coverdale Farm Steward, and me as we welcomed twin Dorset/Suffolk “salt & pepper” lambs and a litter of Berkshire piglets. 

Fourteen-hour old Berkshire piglets resting. Photo by Michele Wales.

As the milking machine was humming around 4:00 PM and our newly born lambs were nursing, Jim hollered from the pig barn announcing the delivery of the little black and white porcine beauties.  By 6:30 in the evening, the first farm lambs and piglets had settled into their feeding frenzy.      

The smiling Berkshire sow nurses her young. Photo by Michele Wales.

At the time of birth, we carefully observe the young looking specifically for one very important action: feeding.  It is critical for each baby to find the mother and take in the colostrom or “first milk.”  This nutrient dense food provides immunity and fuel for early defense from disease.  The other critical step we seek is the bonding between mother and young.  Acceptance by the female is vital for the survival of both piglets and lambs.  This ensures that warmth, food, and protection will be available and sustained. 

Nursing lambs wag their tails with delight as they nurse. Photo by Michele Wales.

Our focus, however, is not exclusive to the young; the actions of the mother post delivery are also significant.  It is important to witness her standing, moving around, and taking water….possibly even eating.  Happily, our sow, piglets, ewe, and lambs all demonstrated the necessary behaviors to allow us to sleep soundly.    

Not to be forgotten, the Suffolk ram is sire of the salt-and-pepper lambs. Photo by Michele Wales.

All is calm and well at the farm this morning with more lambs and chicks anticipated over the next few months. 

Visit the new residents during Farm Fun Days every Wednesday from 12:00PM  to 2:30PM beginning May 5th.  NEW in 2010!  Farm Fun Day chore programs will be offered the third Saturday of each month, May through October, from 8:00AM to 11:00AM. 

Farm Fun Days are FREE for members….join the Delaware Nature Society today!  We’ll see you down on the farm!

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