Here is an update of some of our lambs.
Her is 22's baby girl buried in her hay, this face is begging to be snuggled.
We choose to individually separate all the mothers and lambs for at least the first week post lambing. We do this for a few reasons. First, it is much easier for a mother to get her lambs the proper milk intake if they do not have to walk all over the larger pen to get grain, hay and water. When I first had my daughter and we were working on our nursing skills I really didn't move much from the couch, my focus was getting the hang of keeping a baby alive with just my body. We provide the same concept for the ewes, only without the couch. Putting the mothers in separate pens also allows up to monitor their health at a closer level. I can tell how much each ewe has drank or hay she has eaten, if she is starting to feel off I can identify it much quicker. If there is a sick lamb they are much easier to identify, grab and treat.
Remember our first female lamb of the season? She is still adorably cute and growing.
Here she is learning how to eat grain from her mother, 19. I am going to have to think of a name for her, open to suggestions!
The triplets are growing quite well. It appears that we will be able to keep them all with their mother.
There are nine or so ewes yet to lamb, come cute babies to come!
The other day while we were both at work Bixler's Girlfriend gave birth to triplets. She must feel so much.... lighter.
Bixler's Girlfriend is one of our best mothers, often helping her sister Sweet Pea tend to her lambs. At first when we found her with three babies we thought perhaps she stole from another mother. After investigation we found that no one else had lambed, confirming she really did have triplets. Based on her mothering history I am really not concerned that she will be able to juggle three different lambs. So far, she has not proven me wrong and has been taking great care of getting all three off to a good start.
The group had two males and one female.
It is not easy to get all of them in one shot. Below, they are just a few hours old, just learning how to walk.
The look of a happy lamb.
We will need to keep a close eye on the growth of the lambs for a few days. Bixler's Girlfriend will need extra calories in order to support the increased milk production needed to feed triplets. If one of the lambs is not growing at the same rate as the other two we will need to decide which lamb to pull off and start bottle feeding. It would seem that pulling the smallest lamb off would be best, but we would prefer to pull off the largest lamb. A small, weak lamb would benefit more from on demand nursing with the mother, while a larger, strong lamb can better handle the time between bottle feedings. Hopefully we will not need to get out the bottles this year.
Every spring our sheep are in need of a trimming. This year was no exception.
Bossy is looking huge, she probably has 4-5 inches of wool on her.
The sheep start looking straggly and a mess as some of the wool begins to be pulled out.
In the past we have done the shearing ourselves. But it is time consuming, and to be honest we are not quite the best at it. This year we decided to hire a local shearer, what would have taken us a weekend of work took him about two hours. It was great to have a professional come as he was willing to help teach Jesse how to shear quickly and even fixed our trimmers.
I was at my day job when the shearing occurred so I only have before and after pictures, no action shots.
This is Sweet Pea, looking a little ragged.
Mini Mumps, feeling good after her haircut. The sheep appear so much smaller after their giant coats are taken off.
Bixler's Girlfriend enjoying the wind on her skin.
Taking pictures of the baby lambs is difficult, mostly because of the mother ewes. Every time I think I have a good shot a mother steps in front of the camera. My older sheep are attention hogs and chronic photobombers.
Bixler's girlfriend is by far the worst. She sees me with the camera and comes running.
"You want a picture of MEEEE?"
Our 2015 lambing season has started out strong. Four ewes have birthed 6 healthy lambs, two singles and two sets of twins. I stepped out into the barn the other day to TRY and get some pictures to share.
This is our first lamb born this year. A healthy ram lamb born to Mini Mumps, her first time lambing. She had the lamb all by herself. He is a VERY big lamb and loves jumping on his mom's back.
In the last 24 hours we have had 3 sets of twins. Lambs are always a special time of year, but for these three ewes it is especially sweet.
Last year 4 was the first to lamb. We went out of check on lambs at about 3 in the morning, while she was in the process of delivering her first lamb. The lamb was weak, and Jesse and I spent about 45 minutes trying to revive the lamb. In the end we lost it. As we were discussing the loss 4 delivered a second lamb. It was better, but as we continued to stay in the barn the lamb went going downhill. We continued to work with the lamb, but again, in the end it was lost. In retrospect the lambs were probably in the womb too long during labor and were born with amniotic fluid in the lungs. It was our first lambing that we had on the farm, and for us it was a blow. But, it was exceptionally hard on 4. She mourned her lambs for weeks, bawling and sniffing in the area she lambed, it was heartbreaking, I have yet to see another ewe mourn like she did.
Jump to 2014. Jesse came home from work and getting the baby from daycare (I was 8.5 month pregnant last time). He noticed that 4 had two water sacs out and decided to let her labor unassisted for a while. After 2 hours there was no progress and he was not able to palpate her. The vet was called. The vet determined that 4 was not dilated but was in active labor and made the decision to pull the lambs. A male and female were successfully born, and 4 could not have been happier, she has been a wonderful mother; a much better outcome for her than last year.
Last year Bixler’s Girlfriend had a run in with Blerta and broke her leg just a few weeks before her due date. The break was set by the vet and she was segregated to heal before lambing. Unfortunately, she lambed two lambs, a male and female, that could not walk. We again, had the vet out, the lambs were given selenium and vitamin E, the male was starting to walk, but the female had a twisted back and head, she was prescribed 3 daily massages to help loosen up her muscles . The vet thought the cause was that the twins were twisted in the womb or were laying weird because the ewe was often laying down because of her broken leg. After a month of working with the lamb she was able to walk, and Bixler’s Girlfriend even took her back to nurse, continuing to raise her until weaning; Downy (named for her soft unwool-like wool) is still on the farm today.
This year Bixler’s Girlfriend had two healthy males and is proud to show them off.
In a much less dramatic story, Blerta must have had an early miscarriage last year and never delivered babies. We feared the same for her this year, but to our surprise she lambed a healthy boy and girl five days earlier than expected.
It is great that our lambing season has started with happy stories for these girls!
The seaman tells stories of winds, the ploughman of