Working on the farm can be hard labour. At lambing the sheep can experience a hard labour too.
I really enjoy observing animal behaviour; I guess that’s why I have a PhD in it. Reading an animal and understanding what is happening is all part of a farmer’s skill set. To the uninitiated it can be hard to recognise anything but a sheep doing what a sheep does!
There are very recognisable, and sometime subtle, behaviours for labour. Stomping of feet, walking around, urination, standing up and laying down, squatting, teeth grinding and licking of lips. I guess I can recognise some of these traits from my own labours, I kindly won’t share which ones with you!
The photographs show licking of lips and yawning, in addition to laying and standing. I genuinely feel for them during their labour, in anticipation of a successful birth, whilst having a strong recollection of what they are going through. They make very ‘human like’ noises and grunts in the birthing process; totally anthropomorphic.
You can’t beat pulling a lamb safely from a ewe knowing that you’ve just brought new life into the world.
Farming is certainly a labour of love!