Fatima and her ram lamb by Boomer, both tuckered out after a long labor.
Fatima and her ram lamb by Boomer, both tuckered out after a long labor.
Daisy with one of her rams by Drover
Daisy’s twin ram lambs by Drover
Shirley and her ewe lambs by Drover
Last night we brought Shirley into a lambing stall after dinner to give her a quiet place to labor. Our assumption was that she was in very early labor, and we planned to check her through the night.
Shirley is grey, and she’s bred to Drover, who is white. We did a little review of Icelandic color genetics to try to guess what color her lambs would be. Drover’s white pattern is dominant to Shirley’s grey, so we assumed a white lamb…or two!
I checked her at 9pm. She was needy and kept coming over to me for chin scratching. She just didn’t look that distracted by pain (compared to Fatima last night!), though, so at that stage we thought that the earliest she would lamb would be in the wee hours of the morning.
At about 9:30 I went up to bed – Roy was going to do the 10pm check and follow me to bed so that we could get rested up for what was to come. She’s a maiden ewe, and we assumed she might need some help.
I started to drift off to sleep thinking, “What if Roy comes to wake me up vs. me waking him up in the early morning?!” (since I do the checks throughout the night.) “Nah – ha! THAT would never happen!”
I must have just fallen asleep, when I woke a little after 10 with Roy standing in front of me, saying, “It’s white!” with a big grin on his face! I pulled myself out of early REM sleep…”What?!” “It’s white!”
It quickly came to me what he was saying, but I was in disbelief! I had only just checked her at 9! Compared to Fatima, who took nearly 12 hours to have her lambs after finding her restless like Shirley was, to even have her in active labor at 10 seemed amazing, let alone that she had a lamb unassisted!
I dressed quickly, and we ran down – Roy hadn’t even checked the sex yet, as he wanted to come get me first! On the way down I said, “Are you sure it’s not Fatima’s lamb that somehow got through the fence?” Roy was pretty convinced that his fencing was impenetrable, but when I saw the white lamb it looked identical to Lisa – but Shirley was licking away at it, lying on her side.
To our astonishment, as we approached the stall, Shirley stood up, dropping ANOTHER white lamb behind her!
She walked away, focusing on the first lamb. We grabbed towels and got the second lamb going and passed it to her. She did so well accepting them both!
Twin ewes! This makes our count even, and we’re over half way through lambing!
It was such a blessing that Shirley did this without any help from us, and we were able to get a better night’s sleep knowing that this event had passed uneventfully! She had those lambs so quickly – it helped that they were both ewes. Ram lambs have bigger foreheads with horn bumps that impede delivery, especially in maiden ewes. These lambs seemed to be birthed effortlessly!
Now we have to move Daisy and her lambs out to pasture today. We tried this yesterday, and Roxanne, whom we also moved to pasture, was not impressed with Daisy and her lambs and tried to hurt Daisy’s lambs. We had to quickly bring Daisy back to the post partum ward, hoping she’d bond more with her lambs between then and today (she was very distracted by the pasture grass!)
We’ll try again today – we really need to make room for Millie and Molly. They are really getting close – possibly today or tonight. Though they are pros, and could easily lamb on the pasture, but it’s much better to have them in a controlled environment where we can assist them or their lambs if necessary.
On top of all of the shepherding, we have 50 pounds of Kennebec potatoes and a big garden to deal with today! We have sprouts coming up – onions, lettuce, spinach, beets, etc. -and the deer fencing needs reinforced and moved. We’re expanding this year and need to plow. The potatoes need to be cut and calloused for planting in a couple of days.
Life is good!
Not even time to post pictures today! Fatima birthed a lovely set of twins – white ram and beautiful black ewe! Both are doing quite well!
I was hoping for a quiet night tonight, but now Shirley (another maiden ewe) is pacing the fence line and wouldn’t even come over for a handful of freshly picked grass! She clearly has her mind on something else! Good thing we were able to let Roxanne and her lambs out in the pasture for the night to clear a lambing pen for Shirley! We’ll be rounding her up right after dinner.
As always…stay tuned!
Looks like it might finally be Fatima’s turn, though I’m not entirely convinced!
At my 4 am check I found her down in the corner of the field where Daisy started to go into labor, pawing and pacing about.
It was time to start moving things around so as to accommodate her in a lambing pen. This meant moving Daisy into the shed which has up until now been our supply room and my apartment (read “cot space”) should the need arise for me to sleep down there some night.
Knowing Roy was sick in bed, I tried to get everything ready. Daisy was moved and her old pen made ready for Fatima. I went to wake Roy and he fought back the nausea and feverish chills to throw on a coat and muck boots and help me round her up.
She’s safely in her pen now. I stayed with her for a while and she was surprisingly affectionate, looking for scratches on her chin. I managed to get a few winks of sleep, checking on her a couple of more times. At close to 7am it was time for feeding and a whole new day to begin!
I’m so happy that at least she waited until today – daylight and sunshine always help make lambings more comfortable for all! And hopefully Roy will be feeling a bit better when the big moment comes!
Fatima is our sire Drover’s sister, out of our dear Millie and our first ram, now deceased, Clancy. She’s a very special “mini Millie”, and we can’t wait to see her lambs from Boomer!
Here I sit, exhausted and awaiting the next check for lambs.
It’s raining, and thunderstorms tonight are not out of the question.
Both lambing stalls are occupied! It will take some rearranging to fit in another patient in our labor and delivery suites!
The shepherd is sick – fever, in bed.
Sounds like the perfect storm for some late night lambings tonight!
But let’s cut to the positive!
This morning Daisy, a first time mom, gave us an adorable set of twin white ram lambs, each big and healthy and feisty! She quickly worked out what everything was all about and is quite attached to them!
The sun was shining, and it was warm and breezy! We have been blessed so far with these two lambings, so we hope and pray that things continue to go well despite any obstacles tonight!
We were toying with the idea of naming yesterday’s ram Loki, however the arrival of twin brothers today changed everything! These two born today shall be Thor and Loki!
Stay tuned for further adventures in the realm of all things cute and cuddly!
A very sad day for our country, and our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and families and all involved in the tragedy in Boston today.
But we did have a happy event here this evening with our first lambing for 2013!
Hopefully I’ll have time tomorrow to blog the birth story – however I think 2 more ewes are very close and promising to keep us busy!
But here’s the end of the story…a ewe, Lisa, born about 7:30pm – followed by her brother about an hour later! Both are doing very well, as is theirmom, Roxanne!
Well, two-hourly checks through the night yielded sleeping ewes who looked at me as if I were crazy! No babies last night, which was fortunate because it was the coldest night we’ll have this week.
Millie is miserable – had to bring her some of her hay today because she doesn’t like standing for too long. I’m hopeful that it’s a sign that she’s close!
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