Mumu had twins today. Both girls weighed in at 10 lb.. The black one is Ebony, the white one is Ivory. Notice the white patches on the back of Ebony’s ears. I am loving all these nice big, healthy babies. And such a late lambing means we don’t have to worry about chilled newborns.
Freckles was in labor when I got to the barn this morning. 9 lb Frickle made her appearance within half an hour. Spaulding was a busy boy five months ago!
Our newest baby, Edith, was born this afternoon. The girls were out in the pasture when I noticed that Eve was in labor. Eve is another first time mama and it was raining out. I thought she would feel more secure giving birth in the barn. I started heading her toward the barn, got as far as the first gate when she turned around and ran back to the spot where her water broke. We repeated this 3 times. She just wasn’t having it. She was determined to stay in that spot. She kept nosing around in the grass, looking for a lamb. This is common of so many sheep in labor. They have a little contraction and have to examine the ground behind themselves, hoping that’s all there is to it, there MUST be a lamb back here somewhere. So, Eve gave birth for the very first time out in the rain. I gave them about 20 minutes to bond then went out to bring them inside. Little Edith is a healthy, floofy 9 lb. girl. Eve is taking to motherhood like she has done it all her life.
Another new baby today. Flower became a first time mama today. Floyd weighed in at 11 lb, big for a yearling’s lamb. Being a first-timer, Flower has to learn a few things. She did well cleaning him off and letting him nurse. But, she needs to learn that she can’t head out of the barn at a run with the rest of the herd. Poor Floyd didn’t even know what happened. One minute his mama was there, the next minute she was gone. I carried him out to pasture with him bleating the whole way. A soon as Flower heard him she remembered she had a baby. She started running around frantically, calling for him. She couldn’t seem to understand that he was with me. I finally made her understand where he was and, using the lamb to coax her, got her back into the barn. I felt she needed some more practice at being a mama before being outside with him.
In the meantime Lily, Cora, and their respective babies seem to have sorted everything out. The correct babies are bonded with the correct mamas.
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!
Monday was brutally hot and humid. The girls spent most of their outside time panting in the shade, rather than grazing. Mary kept coming to the gate wanting to come back in the barn. She had passed her mucus plug, so I knew she was close to lambing. So I let her in the barn. 5 Minutes later she wanted to go back out with the rest of the flock. She could not decide between the security of the barn and the security of the herd. We played the in-and-out game a few more times until I got irritated and made her stay out. She did not appear to be in labor yet when I finished chores, but I was fully expecting to find a new lamb when I entered the barn Tuesday morning. And was disappointed. She went out with the others and came to the gate a couple times but I made her stay out this time. Her water broke right before I let the girls back in. I checked on Mary before I headed to the house to get ready for work. She seemed to be progressing normally and I was not worried. I Showered, changed, and ate some lunch. Checked in her real quick before I left for work. She was cleaning off a nice big ram lamb. He was on his feet, wobbly but looking healthy. I was dressed for work and had to leave. Texted Sissy to please check on them when she came to pick up Levi when she got out of work. She found and named little Mario. She also found that Mary had delivered a second lamb. This was a big ewe lamb. Mary was trying desperately to get the lamb up, but she was dead. Sissy says that while Mary had cleaned the ewe lamb’s back half, the placenta was covering the lamb’s face. We have no way of knowing for sure if the lamb was born alive, but it looks like the poor little thing suffocated. Sissy weighed Mario in at 12 lb. and the ewe lamb was just as big. That is really big for twins. When I saw how big the ram lamb was, it did not occur to me there might be a twin still to come. So, we had our first casualty of this year’s lambing season, but I am happy to say Mario is doing very well.