On Tuesday Boop added another member to the flock. Boppit weighed in at 12 lb, bringing our lamb count to 41. We still have 7 ewes who haven’t lambed, but none of them are showing signs that they are bred. I’m thinking we are done for the year. That’s OK with me. I need a break. 41 is a count I can live with. It’s twice as many lambs as we’ve had in a at least 2 years. We had one still-birth and a couple close calls. And 41 strong, healthy lambs, growing fast.
Monday afternoon Sissy was sheering some of the girls after I finished chores. It was fortunate she was in the barn when Brandy went into labor. Little Brittani was a breech. Sissy had to give Brandy a hand to deliver backwards Brittani. Not only did she come out arse-first, she also had an umbilical hernia. Sissy had to call the vet out to put Brittani’s guts back where they belong and put in a suture to keep them there. Brittani sailed through with with flying colors. She is doing great and Brandy is a great mama.
Little Leonard, our mutton-chopped lamb, has finally got it figured out!
Leonard was born Thursday. He would not eat. We tried latching him onto his mama, Bear. He would not suckle. We tried bottle feeding him, he would neither suck nor swallow. He could stand and walk and follow his mama, but seemed to have no suckling instinct. One of the weirdest lamb problems Sissy and I have encountered.
We have been tube feeding him 5 times a day since he was born so he would not starve to death. Some time during the night last night he finally figured it out. When Sissy did the morning feeding today she noticed that his little lamb belly was not hollow. When I did chores he was still not hollow. I watched Bear and Leonard every chance I got until I finally saw him nursing.
What a sweet, sweet sight! I don’t know why it took him three days to figure out how to eat when most lambs figure it our within 15 minutes after they are born. But our tube feedings kept him alive long enough to get there.
I am so glad. Not only is Leonard one of the cutest lambs I’ve seen, his mama, Bear is one of my favorites. It would have broken her heart to lose him. She hasn’t lambed these past two years and Sissy was considering culling her. And Bear was being such a good mama to Leonard. She has been so attentive and fiercely protective. Patient with us as we have hand-milked her to tube her good milk into Leonard’s tummy. She was continually urging him to nurse, using her front leg to nudge him toward her udder. This is a move I have never seen a ewe have to use before, as most lambs automatically head toward their mama’s udder as soon as they can stand. Bear knew he needed to nurse and tried every way she could to get him to do it.
Sissy and I had decided we would keep tubing Leonard through the weekend and if he hadn’t figured it out by then we would put him to sleep. I am feeling all warm and fuzzy right now, knowing we won’t have to do that.
So while I was doing chores I had three new mamas in the barn with me. Next thing I knew there was a 4th ewe in the barn. Tinkerbell had let herself in. I have no idea how she got in. Maybe she jumped the gate or crawled under it. But one way or another she was inside and she was in labor. She wanted to have her baby inside! She had a nice big 10 lb girl, Wendy. Four births in 24 hours. Another busy day for Spaulding 5 months ago!
When I got to the barn to do chores I found Bear cleaning off her newborn boy, Leonard.
Leonard is the first lamb I have ever seen sporting Mutton Chop facial hair. So friggin’ cute! We are not sure if he is going to make it, though. Bear is doing a Great Job taking care of him. The problem is, he doesn’t seem to know how to eat. For some reason he does not seem to have an instinct to suckle or swallow. Sissy milked a few ounces of colostrum from bear and tubed it into his stomach. I really hope he figures it out.
Today was ridiculously hot and humid. And poor Pia had to go through labor. She had a boy, Perry, and a girl, Pixie. They are both strong and healthy, weighing in at 10 lb apiece. Even after Pia cleaned them off it took forever for them to dry in the humid air. The girls barely grazed today. They just stood in the shade panting.