Amgueddfa Blog: Sgrinwyna

The Voices from the Archives series is based on recordings in the Oral History Archive at St Fagans National History Museum. Connected to the agricultural activities, demonstrations and displays at the Museum - they provide an insight into the lives and histories of farming people, the agricultural practices in the past, how they developed into contemporary agriculture.

Lambing in Pembrokeshire, 1984

March is lambing time at Llwyn-yr-eos Farm, the Museum’s working farm. Lambing in the past and present was described by Richard James, Portfield Gate, Pembrokeshire, south west Wales, in a recording made in 1984. Aged 79, he recalled lambing in an interview about his life in farming, but also described how it was being done on a farm in the area in the year of the interview. The following short clips are from the recording.

Pembrokeshire born and bred, Richard James had farmed at Lambston Sutton in the south west of the county. It stood between the large county town of Haverfordwest a few miles to the east, and the coastline of St Bride’s Bay to the west. The lowland coastal areas, warmer climate and lower rainfall made agriculture more diverse than in many other parts of Wales, with the keeping cattle and sheep and the growing of early potatoes and cereal crops. The coastal areas could be exposed to the winds and rain from the Atlantic Ocean though, and weather conditions could strongly influence lambing, to which Richard James refers in the first clip:

Richard James, Portfield Gate, Sir Benfro

When lambing was to take place was decided by when the ewes were put to the rams. Up until then the rams on the farm had to be kept separate from the sheep. It was always a concern that rams might break through a poor fence or hedge and cause lambing to start at the wrong time. Also, a ram of poorer quality or a different breed from another flock could also result in poorer quality lambs and reduced income. After mating, a ewe is pregnant for between 142 and 152 days, approximately five months or slightly shorter.

In this clip, Richard James describes at what time of year lambing took place on a local farm, and how it was being done by a farmer using a former aircraft hangar.

Richard James, Portfield Gate, Sir Benfro

The final clip is about working the day and night shifts:

Richard James, Portfield Gate, Sir Benfro

 

It’s been another busy lambing season down at Llwyn yr Eos – we really hope you’ve enjoyed watching all the action via #lambcam.  This year, as well as welcoming lots of excited visitors to the farm to see our mums and babies, there’s been a couple of new additions to the programme. We ran our first ever Lambing Experience Day Courses and were really pleased to get great feedback that included 'a once in a lifetime experience'! They're something we hope to build on in 2017 - so watch this space!. Our Learning Team also organised lambing tours for schools, with over 600 children visiting (some of whom were lucky enough to witness births happening!).

The lamb-o-meter clocked up 186 at close of play – there’s a few stragglers left to deliver, but we’re on course for a total of 204 births. For those of you who like some stats, here goes…

  • Lambing 204 from 114 ewes gives a lambing percentage of 178% (which is good).
  • The vast majority of those are happy, healthy and with their mothers.
  • But we’ve also lost a few along the way…
    • One set of twins were a late miscarriage.
    • One lamb too premature to survive.
    • 2 failed to thrive and died at a few days old.
    • 2 stillborn.
    • 1 accidentallly smothered by its mother.
  • So far we have ended up with two lambs being bottle fed:
    • One was born very poorly and had to be hand reared from the start.
    • The other was from a set of twins where the mother had mastitis and only had enough milk for one lamb.
    • Both of them are bouncing around happily now.
  • There’s also been a couple of bonuses – two ewes that we thought were carrying singles delivered twins!

So here’s a few of this year’s cutest pictures to keep you going till next year……

Dwi’n siŵr eich bod, fel finna yn dotio gweld yr ŵyn bach adeg hyn o'r flwyddyn, ac wedi bod yn cadw llygaid ar y diweddaraf o'r Sgrinwyna sy'n cofnodi'r genedigaethau ar fferm Llwyn-yr-eos, yma yn Sain Ffagan.

Erbyn heddiw ystyrir cig oen fel ein danteithfwyd cenedlaethol, a dwi’n siŵr y bydd amryw ohonoch yn mwynhau gwledda ar gig oen wedi ei rostio dros Sul y Pasg. Be sy’n syndod yw mai tan yn gymharol ddiweddar, ni fwytawyd llawer o gig oen yma yng Nghymru. Cedwid defaid ar gyfer eu gwlân a’u llefrith, nid ar gyfer eu cig. Dim ond ar achlysuron arbennig y bwytawyd cig oen, gan ei fod yn fwy proffidiol i gneifio a gwerthu gwlân y ddafad.

Wrth chwilota trwy’r archif, prin iawn yw’r ryseitiau sy’n cynnwys cig oen. Ond yr hyn sydd yn rhan o’n traddodiad, ac sy’n profi dadeni ar hyn o bryd yw cig dafad – sef cig o anifail a gedwid rhwng tair a phum mlynedd. Tan y 1940au, roedd cig dafad yn ffefryn ar draws Prydain a’r consensws oedd bod ei flas a’i ansawdd yn rhagori ar gig oen. Wrth deithio o amgylch Cymru ym 1862, fe brofodd George Borrow gig dafad am y tro cyntaf, a bu’n canu ei glodydd:

The leg of mutton of Wales beats the leg of mutton of any other country, and I had never tasted a Welsh leg of mutton before. Certainly I shall never forget that first Welsh leg of mutton which I tasted, rich but delicate, replete with juices derived from the aromatic herbs of the noble Berwyn, cooked to a turn, and weighing just four pounds ... Let anyone who wishes to eat leg of mutton in perfection go to Wales.

           George Burrow Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery, 1862

Felly pam fod cig dafad wedi mwy neu lai diflannu o’n basgedi siopa a’n bwydlenni? Gyda gostyngiad ym mhris gwlân yn ystod degawdau cyntaf y 1900au, roedd yn talu i ffermwyr werthu ŵyn gwrywaidd ar gyfer cig, yn hytrach na’u cadw i roi gwlân. Rhaid cofio hefyd fod cig dafad yn cymryd tipyn yn hirach i'w goginio, felly nid yw'n syndod iddo gael ei ddisodli gan gig oen sy'n yn cymryd chwarter yr amser.

Dros y degawd diwethaf, fodd bynnag, mae cig dafad wedi cynyddu yn ei boblogrwydd unwaith eto, gyda mwy o fwytai, ffermydd, siopau cig a chogyddion enwog yn gwerthu a hyrwyddo'r cig arbennig yma. Er ei fod ar gael drwy’r flwyddyn, mae ar ei orau rhwng mis Hydref a Mawrth. Felly tymor cig oen yw hi ar hyn o bryd, ond erbyn yr Hydref, cofiwch edrych allan am gig dafad yn ei siop cig lleol.

Dyma rysáit o’r archif, mae’r dull o goginio’r pryd hwn yn amrywio, ond dyma fersiwn teulu o Garnfadrun, Llŷn:

         Tatws Popty

          darn o gig dafad

          tatws

          nionyn

          dŵr

Llenwi gwaelod y tun cig â thatws a nionod, a’u gorchuddio â dŵr.  Rhoi darn mawr o gig eidion neu gig dafad ar wyneb y tatws a rhostio’r cwbl yn y popty.

              

 

In the early 1970s Museum staff set out to record older and retired farmers describing farming in Wales in the first half of the twentieth century, before the large-scale mechanisation and expansion from the 1950s onwards. The recordings are kept in our Sound Archive.

In April 1977 Earnest Thomas Ruell, then aged 76, was interviewed about sheep farming in Radnorshire, mid-Wales, in the early decades of the twentieth century. Born in 1901, he lived at The Pant farm, Llanfihangel Rhydithon, in the hills north east of Llandrindod Wells.  After marrying in 1924 he farmed at Dolyfelin near Knighton for thirty four years.

In this short compilation of selected clips, Thomas Ruell describes lambing time, speaking in the distinctive accent of Radnorshire, one of the most rural Welsh counties, bordering Herefordshire.

The flock comprised 120 ewes and 4 or 5 rams. The breed of sheep was the local Kerry Hill, regarded as excellent mothers. Lambing took place outside, the only space available under cover was by emptying the wainhouse (cart shed) during heavy snow. Treatments for illnesses were limited and often based on local remedies. The flock producing a lambing figure of 125% was considered a good outcome. Female lambs grew into ewes and were kept for just over two years then sold, during which time they would have produced lambs themselves.

Large sheds allow lambing to be a lot less dependent upon weather conditions and the seasons, often starting as early as January. Here at Llwyn-yr-eos farm our ewes were all undercover well before lambing even began. Most flocks and farms now have to be considerably larger in order to be viable. Treatments for illnesses have advanced considerably, most of which can be applied by farmers themselves. Some similarities remain between lambing in the 1920s and the 1930s and the present, though, and a great deal of time, care and attention from the farmer are still fundamental elements for successful lambing today.

Os ydych chi wedi bod yn gwylio sgrinwyna, siawns fyddech chi wedi gweld rhai o'r defaid yn cael help llaw gen y tîm. Felly i'r rhai ohonoch sydd yn awyddus i wybod beth yn union sy'n mynd ymlaen....

Wrth i’r ddafad esgor, mae cyfangiad y cyhyrau yn gwthio’r oen at y byd mawr. Yr enw ar safle’r oen yw ‘gorweddiad’. Os yw gorweddiad yr oen yn drafferthus, bydd yn rhaid i’r bugail helpu’r ddafad i roi genedigaeth.

 

  1. Delfrydol: Pen a coesau blaen yn gyntaf. Dyma’r safle hawsaf – dim angen help fel arfer.
  2. Un goes allan fel ‘Superman’: Weithiau angen help i wthio’r oen yn ôl a sythu’r goes.
  3. Dwy goes yn ôl: Angen help i wthio’r pen yn ôl a thynnu’r coesau allan.
  4. Pen yn ôl: Angen help i wthio’r oen yn ôl a thynnu’r pen ymlaen.
  5. Am yn ôl: Dim angen help, ond gall y llinyn bogail dorri cyn i’r pen ddod allan, gan achosi i’r oen foddi cyn cael ei eni.
  6. O chwith (pen ôl gyntaf): Bydd angen help i sortio hyn bob tro.
  7. Cymhlethdodau: Mae geni efeilliaid, tripledi neu fwy hyd yn oed yn hawdd fesul un! Ond weithiau mae pethau’n mynd yn lletchwith, ac mae angen help.

Diolch i Wynfford yr Oen Hyfforddi a Fflat Eric am eu gwaith modelu