As soon as I entered the barn this morning I could hear the “chuckling” of a new mama. Looked around to locate the new lamb and saw TWO new lambs. Here’s the problem: there were two ewes circling, chuckling, and licking both lambs. Say whaaat? In the meantime the rest of the flock is milling around, looking for scratches and yelling at me to let them out to pasture. OK, first thing is to open the door and get the rest of these fools out of the way.
Now how in the heck do I figure out who belongs to whom? The lambs are mostly dry and are fairly small. If not for the two ewes I would have said they are twins. They are both responding to both ewes. On closer inspection of the ewes I can see that Cora has both mucus and blood discharging from her back end, while Lily has only mucus but no blood. Hmmm… I think what happened is Cora gave birth to twins while Lily began labor and Lily got confused. That is what I thought, but I wasn’t sure.
I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want the lambs to bond with the wrong mama and then get rejected by the right one. Called Sissy in on the case. She also was “pretty sure” the lambs both belonged to Cora and that Lily had not lambed yet. While Sissy and I were assessing the situation, Levi was helping to come up with names for the new lambs. So there we were; two insistent ewes, two confused ram lambs, two adult humans, and one little boy, grouped in the corner of the barn. It was too much for Lily. She felt threatened and knocked Levi down. Then she backed up and knocked him down again before Sissy and I could even react.
Levi was crying because he was taken by surprise and his hand had hit the wall when Lily butted him. Sissy and I felt bad because Levi was hurt and because we hadn’t been quick enough see it coming and prevent it. Plus we still weren’t sure what to do with the sheep. Every one is feeling pretty low at this point. Along comes Ruby to dispel the blues. She flaps up onto Lily’s back as if she wants to play mid-wife. Levi stopped crying and we all got a good laugh.
Sissy decided we should pen Cora and the lambs in the creep for now and wait for Lily to lamb. It wasn’t too long after this that Lily started getting into serious labor. She was still calling to Cora’s lambs, but was too busy to hover outside the pen. Every time she finished straining she would whip around to examine the floor behind her, expecting to see a lamb there. Maybe she thought if she stole two babies that were already born she would not have to go through labor?
Anywho, it was not long before Lily had a lamb of her own to clean off. And a short time after that she had ANOTHER lamb to clean. Two little girls this time. And about 30 seconds after number 2 was born, Ruby started her egg-laying cackle from the wall ledge she jumped to from Lily’s back.
I texted Sissy and she and Levi came back to the barn so Levi could name the babies. He had already named Cora’s boys Spot and Dot. Now he named Lily’s girls Ginny and Hermione. (He loves Harry Potter.) Sissy and Levi left and things were quiet in the barn. Cora and her lambs were calm, Lilly was busy taking care of her lambs. I decided it should be safe to let Cora, Spot and Dot out of the creep. Yeah, not so much. As soon as Lily noticed them out of the pen she tried to steal Spot and Dot again. She started calling to them and running back and forth between them and her own lambs. She wanted to keep ALL FOUR lambs! And Spot and Dot were so confused. Lily’s smell told them she was the mama they belonged with, but Lily’s voice told them they should go with her.
To sum things up, all lambs are with their correct mamas now. Cora, Spot and Dot are spending the night in the creep. Hopefully by morning everyone will be bonded with who they should be bonded with. Apparently Spaulding had a busy day some 5 months ago!