Greener pastures…

The grass IS always greener on the other side of the fence. And BOY did the ewes enjoy moving to the other side of the fence today! Bruna and her lambs have joined the mob and this afternoon we moved all of the ewes and lambs to the lower barnyard paddock for lots of juicy grass and clover!

Finishing up lambing season with yet more twins!

Last night at about 9:30pm we finally started witnessing some signs of labor with Bruna.  It was slow going for a while, but a couple of hours later she started into active labor – for about another hour – and then it was time to see what was going on.

She wasn’t pushing, and sometimes that can be a sign that the lamb is not presenting correctly.  It is the presence of the lamb in the birth canal that stimulates the pushing.  

When I checked, the feet were just below the pelvis…close, but no cigar.  So I gently pulled those feet up and Bruna and I got to work coaxing that little ram into the world.  Roy gave the final tug, which was quite substantial because Bruna is a maiden ewe and not as stretched out as she could be.

With him on the ground at about 12:15 we waited to see if there was a sibling.  Sure enough about an hour later there was another set of feet presenting, and with a slight tug we welcomed his sister into the world! 

Another happy family at Morning Star Meadows!

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Final lamb tally, I think, (and I’m running on only about 3 hours of sleep!) is 7 ewes and 5 rams…all white except for the black and moorit ewes.

 

Happy as a lamb!

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What a week we just had!  

10 new lambs safely on the ground.  One more ewe, Bruna, safely in her lambing stall.  Today is her due date.

We got nearly 50 pounds of Kennebec potatoes planted yesterday, as well as a quarter of a pound of bush beans, thanks to lots of back-breaking help from wonderful friends!

Yesterday afternoon I basically fell unconscious.  One minute we were sitting on the deck with our friends, soaking in the sun and some Chardonnay, and the next I was following some subconscious urge to lie down for just a little, fully intending to go back downstairs in a couple of minutes to resume our visit.  Roy tried to rouse me a couple of times without much success.  Apparently I refused an invitation to dinner that I don’t’ even recall!  And the next thing I know I’m waking up shortly before 1 am wondering why I’m wearing socks – and then realize I’m still dressed!  Wow, was I ever tired!  I’ve been fighting a virus on top of a week of interrupted sleep and numerous adrenaline rushes, and I guess my body just shut down.

I hope our guests will forgive me!

Lots of lamb pictures yet to come!  

The ups and downs of raising livestock

Last night we witnessed the joyous event of our matriarchal ewe, Millie, giving birth to two ewe lambs, one white, and one moorit (brown).  She’s doing great, as are her lambs.  This will be Millie’s last hurrah.  She has earned her retirement after she raises these girls!

After Millie finished up we put her into her post partum stall and brought in Molly, who was pacing the fences and looking ready.  After a long night of watching her, not wanting to miss anything should she need assistance, dawn finally broke and eventually in the foggy late morning she started to labor more seriously.

After a short while we realized things were not going well – we saw meconium in the fluid coming from her, which indicated that the lamb might be in distress, thereby causing it to pass the meconium (the first stool) into the womb.

Last year, with difficulty and assistance, Molly brought into the world an 11 pound ewe.  This year it was a ram – and he was even bigger, with horn buds.  When I first reached in to try to find out what might be distressing him, I found him twisted with his neck and head bent back.  The placenta was fighting for the position that the head needed to take and after a lot of struggling, Roy and I realized that we were not going to win this battle. 

We quickly set up to try a Caesarian, and in the end we pulled out a lamb that I was not able to revive.  Molly, too, was in pretty bad shape from blood loss and the surgery.  And sadly, we had to euthanize her.

We know that we can’t win them all.  And animals must be culled in livestock flocks and herds.  Some animals are not fit for remaining as breeding stock, and we had to make that decision for Molly today.  Had she even recovered from this, we could not be sure that her uterus would withstand another pregnancy.  We will miss her – she was part of our foundation flock, and we are happy to have two of her ewes from the past two breedings at our farm, Shirley and Freyja. She will live on in them, and in our hearts.  She actually became a cover girl recently on the Icelandic Sheep Breeders Association Newsletter.  This is how we shall remember her.

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