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From Old English cilfor (or ceolfor).



chilver (plural chilvers)

  1. A female lamb.
    • 1812, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Dorset, page 407:
      The chilver and pur lambs, at 2d. per head for about 40 weeks, will cost
    • 1868, British Farmer's Magazine - Issue 54, page 114:
      For the last few years I have put out my Chilver lambs to keep from the middle of October til Lady-day upon a dry, sheltered, and healthy farm, andd as the result of this plan, I have found that the lambs did quite as well there with cut swedes and hay as they would on my high exposed farm during the winter upon the same allowance of roots and hay, with the addition of a quarter of a pound of best cake per day for each lamb.
    • 1874, The Farmer's Magazine - Volume 76, page 259:
      Among the purchasers of the Chilver lambs were Mr. Morrison, a lot at £170; Mr. Taylor, £80; Mr. Buxton, :£33 10s, Mr Holdsworth £34
    • 1898, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, page 66:
      To repairing Hurne bridge 1 chilver shepe.
    • 1898, Wool Markets and Sheep - Volumes 8-9, page 2:
      If anything has to go short, it will not be the heifers or chilver lambs, as they call their yearling ewes ; and in fact , as I have already said, except in the occasional seasons of drouth, the Dorset ewe during the four or five years of her life never knows what it is to want.
    • 1970, William Marshall, Southern and peninsular departments, page 280:
      In the summer and autumn, the chilver lambs are frequently folded, being fed on grass, rape, turnips, and hay, from the latter end of summer till the following spring.


  • OED 2nd edition 1989