Friday, 17 April 2009

The Main Attraction

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Just before the Easter holidays, my son, Sam asked me to accompany him and the grandchildren to a small zoo, which is situated in Somerset and naturally, I jumped at the idea. It wasn't the first time I had been there but it was my granddaughters' first visit.
We arrived as the zoo opened and the first thing we saw was the lovely peacock strutting about. There was an albino one too, completely white, but I didn't get to photograph that one as there were always too many people in the way of it.

The girls soon started rushing about wanting to see everything all at once! We raced here and there, looked at the giraffes, rhinos, buffalos, camels, emus and many other beasts, great and small.

These three capaburras remind me of rats or guinea pigs but they are not rodents at all but are related to hippos! Hard to believe, that. They look rather inoffensive sitting huddled together in a row. They are about as big as a small sized dog.

Meerkats are lovely little creatures and there is always one on the lookout while the rest of the group relax in the sun. Apparently, they live in a tightly organised community and each one has a place in the hierarchy from the highest position to the most lowly.

Well after all those exotic animals, what do you think held our interest for the longest amount of time?
This ewe had started to give birth right in front of us and naturally we didn't feel we could move away until she had delivered her baby safely. I had never seen a sheep give birth before and found the whole thing fascinating.
One lady ran to get one of the workers and after a while three girls dressed in green overalls stood observing nearby, occasionally speaking on a mobile to report or query progress. The birth took about twenty minutes from the time we first noticed it. I felt rather sorry for the ewe as she keeled over to push hard. Eventually the little lamb slid out and after she licked it clean it began to stagger to its feet and the helpers left.
However it began to dawn on all of us who were still watching that she was having another lamb but this time she seemed to be really struggling. Another three people arrived, one of the men seemed to be in charge and with the help of the other two holding the sheep steady, he had to pull the lamb out. The new arrival was very limp and still and at first we all thought it had died. The helpers rubbed it and shook it gently and we were all getting quite upset, when suddenly there were little twitching movements on the ears and feet. Quite soon afterwards, the tiny black headed sheep staggered to its feet and joined its completely white sibling who now had wool that had fluffed out a little bit and it seemed much stronger than the other newly born twin.
I was enthralled by the births and I know that Crystal Jigsaw sees this kind of thing many times over, being a farmer's wife and she might well smile at me going over the top with this account. However, I was truly moved by this brave sheep and her lambs.
Out of all the more exotic animals....... this ewe and her babies had me enthralled for over an hour and as I write this account, I am still feeling quite emotional!

Photostory Friday is hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek.


Anonymous said...

Hi dear Maggie. You have experienced a wonderful thing and that's why I always feel so privileged living on my farm. I shouldn't think the ewe needed three assistants to stand over her and she would have been a little intimidated which might have made her struggle. However, when that lamb is born and you wonder whether it's alive or dead, the feeling when it moves is one even I can't describe. Our lambing has come to an end now but I have enjoyed it, tired as I am, it has been a wonderful few weeks of experiencing the circle of life. Your blog was lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The zoo looks fab!

CJ xx

Suburbia said...

I've been wanting to take my two to a farm/zoo this week but either the weather or their friend playing arrangements have got in the way! I am jealous, I don't think we'll do it now.

Glad you had a good time. As you said at mine, it's the last day of the holidays today, it's been a good run of days though hasn't it?

Wayne said...

I love the zoo and the meercat pictur is so cool

thankyou for sharing those wonderful pictures

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

It is an awesome experience watching another creature work so hard to bring live into the world. When I was younger, the neighbor's horse delivered and I watched the whole thing.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Oh, how lovely. so exciting to see an animal being born... wuch a privilege. And loved the meercat! They are so sweet.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

what an amazing treat to see that!!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a wonderful story...and what a fantastic privilege to be there! Thanks for sharing this with us...I loved it!

Jaysi said...

Wow! That is so cool. I think i would have been fascinated too! What a blessing that you got to witness a miracle like that.

Casey's trio said... witness a live animal birth! Totally cool!

scrappysue said...

timing! awesome. i've never heard of a caraburra before - they look so cute!

ladythinker said...

Hello maggie - glad to see you are still posting well. never heard of caraburras before. If they're the size of a dog think I'd prefer a dog.
Soon be may . . ;-)

lailani said...

oh this was a fun read of your experience! The capaburras are too cute, hippos you say? That is amazing! Thanks for coming by, I had gotten behind on my travels - glad I got here today!


OvaGirl said...

great post maggie and what an incredible 'added extra' to experience

Barrie said...

What an interesting trip to the zoo! (I popped over from Bina's blog.)

VioletSky said...

What perfect timing for you all, to see a lamb's birth.
And those capaburras do have a sort of hippo looking face. But the meerkats, ah I still miss Meerkat Manor. If you ever find it on DVD, get it - you won't be sorry.

Anonymous said...

This was wonderful. How sweet that you witnessed the birth of the lamb and it turned out okay.

The pictures are so good. Thanks for sharing that special day!

lisaschaos said...

What a great zoo trip! And to get to see birth too! Cool! Lucky you on the peacock - they never open for me.

Anonymous said...