Wyeth is Coun­try Cal­en­dar’s lamb lady

Wairarapa News - - FARMING - SARAH NEALON

Seven years ago a fierce storm on a Kaituna 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 six­th­gen­er­a­tion 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.’’

The Wyeths’ lamb rear­ing ef­forts were the fo­cus on a Coun­try Cal­en­der episode on TVNZ in the week­end. Lyn­ley has fea­tured in Wairarapa News when she started a pro­gramme to get chil­dren at Fern­ridge School to take on or­phan lambs. The fam­ily has picked up sev­eral ma­jor farm­ing awards both lo­cally and na­tion­ally in re­cent years.


Lyn­ley Wyeth bot­tle feeds a new born lamb found aban­doned in the pad­dock.

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