Last night I checked the sheep at 7 PM and there was no sign of anything. When Will rolled in at 2 AM, there were two lambs in the field, standing and walking and such. Given the rain and cold, we were concerned about whether they’d survive the night, but tired was outweighing responsibility and so we left it in the hands of nature.
This morning, while still cold and rainy, both lambs were still alive. Bertha gave birth the a large and healthy boy who was nursing well. Flower gave birth to a little girl, maybe even smaller than Lucky (her boy last year), who was chilled but alive. I rubbed her as dry as I could with a towel and gave her a mouthful of drench, and she got up and started nursing. Interestingly, Newbie, the only first year ewe we kept, was hanging right with Flower, co-parenting if you will. The baby would stand between them and nurse, sheltered from the rain and hidden from danger, which likely translates to New Dog.
In fact, New Dog tried to take a sniff and Flower charged that beagle with no hesitation, giving him the ass whooping he’s deserved for months of occasional sheep chasing. Nice work, Flower. Meanwhile Scout was lunching on a placenta. Ick.
This evening when I came home, both lambs were doing well. Unfortunately, I found a third lamb carcass that had been stripped to the bone. I can only assume that either 1) it was a stillborn, 2) it died from cold, or 3) one of the dogs killed it. I have my doubts about 3, but despite the lacking cause of death, it’s obvious that it was then consumed. I checked the other sheep for signs of afterbirth and Newbie appeared to have some remnants on her hind quarters. I wonder if that’s why she’s adopted Flower’s ewe lamb, who as of this afternoon was nursing from both Mamas.
The lambs are already getting into mischief. The boy managed to crawl through the hog paneling and ended up in with the eight month old pigs – a potentially dangerous situation that I’m glad I was around to remedy. The eight week old piglets are fascinated by the lambs and keep trying to check them out. Always amusing when farm animals interact.
But let’s be honest, the story is less exciting than the prospect of lamb pics. So without further ado…
The girl (she’s a bit harder to photograph as her moms are rather protective):
Amusingly, the sheep that looks the most pregnant still hasn’t popped. Gloria was the only “natural” birth mama (to Grace) we had last year, and I swear she’s having twins. Although she has figured out how to jump the chicken netting to gobble up the scratch we throw for the laying hens, so it could be that she’s just packed on a lot more weight than her sisters. The Other One, the only ewe of the original batch that doesn’t have a name, is also looking ready. She had major problems last year as her lamb was too large, so fingers crossed that we didn’t do too much damage removing her stillborn last year that could lead to major complications.
So two healthy lambs out of three, with the likelihood of two or three more in our future. I love love love having lambs on the farm, but lambing is so stressful.