Wairarapa 'lamb orphanage' profiled on Country Calendar
Seven years ago a fierce storm on a Wairarapa sheep and beef farm owned by husband and wife Lynley and Matt Wyeth led to the death of 1000 lambs overnight.
"We were devastated the next day and I thought there is no way we can go through this again," says Lynley.
"So we sat down and thought, 'How can we change this? How can we not have this happen to us again?' "
The solution for the Wyeths, who have two boys aged 10 and 12, was to set up a nursery in an old woolshed with cosy little pens where weak lambs could be reared by hand.
"The lambs are five days and younger," says Lynley, a sixth-generation farmer who is known as 'the lamb lady'.
"They have hot boxes in there which are laid with wool on the bottom and they have a nice cosy heat lamp on top of them."
The lamb orphanage runs for around 10-12 weeks each year and Lynley, a former hairdresser, can work up to 80 hours a week during busy periods.
During lambing season, the Wyeths and their staff members look out for any lambs that might not survive in the elements. They are taken to the lamb orphanage in a 'lambulance'.
"The lambulance started with me having a little plastic box on the back of my motorbike," says Lynley. "The staff members out on the farm would call me up and say 'I've got a little lamb that needs attention'.
"So I would zoom down on my motorbike and come and grab it. Because I was going up and down the road, Matt wrote on it 'Caution. Baby on Board' and then somebody else wrote 'lambulance' on it.
"Now every staff member has a lambulance box on their bike. It's got wool in the bottom of it so the lambs are snuggly and cosy for a couple of hours until I can get to them or they can get to me."
Lynley says the most rewarding part of the lamb orphanage is seeing lambs that were dying, now surviving and thriving.
"When they are just about weaned off milk and we let them out into a grassy paddock and can watch them race around and skip and play, you think 'Yeah I've done the right thing'. This is cool because those lambs would have been dead six weeks ago."
Country Calendar, TVNZ 1, Sunday, June 11, 7pm
- TV Guide