Two more from Monday

After Martha’s triplets and Peppa’s single lamb on Monday I was hoping for a break. After I left for work that afternoon Sissy texted that Hazel had twins. Six lambs in one day, bringing our total to 27 so far. We are at the halfway mark. Hazels’s babies are a boy and a girl, Henry and Hillary.

My vision of a giant co-family with Martha and Peppa mothering the 6 lambs together did not materialize. Once the lambs started to get dry Martha went one way with her three and Peppa went another way with her single. And poor Farah was left out in the cold again. So we have a bottle lamb. Sissy holds Frannie so Farah can get some real mother’s milk twice a day, but my back issues will not allow me to do that. So I feed her a bottle 3 times a day. And Hazel’s girl, Hillary, has been falling behind her brother in gaining weight, so we are supplementing her with a bottle, too.

The sheep have given me a break, no births for two days. Whew! I needed the rest! I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

4 New Babies Today

Today’s first baby was born this afternoon to Chevelle. Chevelle chose to give birth in the middle of the flock as they gathered at the barn door, demanding to be let back inside. Within a few minutes of exiting the birth canal, little boy Chevron (10 lb) was in the ditch, getting covered with dirt. Chevelle was cleaning him off and bonding with him among everyone else’s feet. Things probably still would have been fine if Frannie, who was also in labor, hadn’t decided to claim Chevron as her own. I had a hell of a time getting her away from the lamb. Finally had to move Chevelle and Chevron to the other side of the gate.SDC11862

Frannie was desolate that she could not reach “her” lamb.

In the mean time, Minnie was busy giving birth to her lamb under the apple tree on the other side of the barn.

Minnie, a first-timer, had the good sense to have her lamb in the shade and away from the others. Her boy, Mickey, weighed in at 10 lb as well. Minnie took to motherhood like she had been doing it all her life.

While I was getting Mickey and Minnie and Chevelle and Chevron into the barn, Frannie dropped her first lamb in the barnyard.

Luckily Frannie no longer had any interest in Chevron. She was happily cleaning off her little girl, Farah, when I left to get some lunch. Checked in when I finished eating to find that Frannie’s second girl, Fawcet, had safely arrived.

Frannie was busy cleaning off Fawcet and all seemed well. I left to do some brush-hogging. Decided to do a last check before I headed up to the house for the night. That is when I discovered that Frannie had decided to reject Farah. She still wanted Fawcet, but wanted nothing to do with Farah. STUPID SHEEP! First she tries to claim another ewe’s lamb, then she rejects one of her own.

I tried the old trick of rubbing Farah with Fawcet’s placenta to make her smell like the accepted lamb. Frannie wasn’t having any of it. Maybe because the placenta was now cold? I also tried rubbing the lamb and Frannie’s nose with some of Frannie’s discharge. She still wasn’t going for it. In the end I tied Frannie (after a brief, back-wrenching wrestling match) and held her still so Farah could nurse. Laid her down next to Fawcet whose belly was already full. I am hoping morning will show a wiser Frannie, but am not counting on it.

Three new babies yesterday, 4 new babies today. That means some 5 months ago Spaulding bred 6 ewes in 2 days. I gotta tell you, I am impressed. No wonder he lost so much weight when he first arrived. (He has gained it back since.) Sissy and I were a bit concerned that, being a baby doll sheep, Spaulding would sire smaller lambs than we usually get. However, at the time we were desperate. We just needed any sperm donor for the girls, quick. And we didn’t need to worry. We have 20 lambs so far (not even halfway through yet) and they have all been between 8 and 14 pounds. And they are growing very well. They are all nice and solid. Way to go Spaulding! And he has a great personality to boot. I can walk through the barn and the pasture and never have to worry about being attacked. IT IS AWESOME! I’m pretty sure we will be using him for next year’s breeding season, too. Thank you so much Mary and Robbie Spaulding!

Sleepy Time

Normal chore time is a frenzy of activity in the barn. The sheep hear me coming down the path and start yelling at me before I even open the door. Getting in the barn is sometimes a challenge because the girls are crowded around the door to greet me. They want to go out. NOW! So I have to work my way through the swarm as they simultaneously beg for scratches, yell at me to hurry up, and block my path to the pasture door. Right now as I am fighting my way through, greeting the scratch-beggars, I am also checking for new lambs and ewes in labor.

When it’s time to let them back in it is another tumult. I can’t even get the door completely open before they rush in en mass. They want their grain. NOW! Mass confusion as they run frantically from tub to tub, just in case somebody else has something tastier to eat. Then it is a mad rush to the water tub when it is hot out, or to the mangers when the temperature is comfortable. The bottomless pits stuffing, stuffing, stuffing their bellies. In the mean time I am trying to herd the lambs that got left outside in the frantic rush. Their mamas get so worked up at the idea of eating they leave their lambs outside and the lambs can’t figure out what to do. They run around the barnyard bleating for their mamas and evading my attempts to get them inside. (The little buggers are QUICK!) Once everyone is inside and the door is shut the mass confusion continues are the lambs bleat and rush around in search of their mamas. The ewes are busy chowing down occasionally answering their lambs with mouths full of food. It’s a real hubbub.

Tonight I had to go out to the barn to check on a first time mama who needed a little persuasion to allow her lamb to suckle. I have frozen my digits off many times doing night checks. Tonight was a lovely, mild night. Peaceful. The sheep knew it wasn’t chore time so they were quietly chewing their cud. I could see well enough by the night light so I didn’t turn on the main lights. The ewes were calm, the lambs were calm. And I got to observe some of the drowsy time scenes that always make me smile. Ebony was snoozing on her mama’s back until her twin sister, Ivory, decided it was time to play “king of the mountain”. Mumu just kept chewing her cud through it all.

Three new Mamas Today

Found three new babies in the barn this morning. Fawn’s lamb, Frank, was the driest of the three so must have been born first. He weighed in at a whopping 14 lb.!

Marty’s girl, Marge, was still somewhat damp. She weighed in at 11 lb..

Barb’s lamb, Babs, dropped minutes after I walked in the barn. This is Barb’s first time being a mama. She did a great job cleaning Babs off and bonding with her. They seemed to be doing fine when I finished up with chores. Sissy checked on the new lambs when she got out of work. She texted me to say that Barb would not allow Babs to nurse. This happens sometimes with new mamas. They just don’t like the sensation of the lamb touching their udder. Usually if we hold the ewe still while the lamb nurses a few times the mamas get used to it and don’t have further problems. Sissy held Barb this afternoon. Apparently she was really freaking out about it. When I got home later that evening I did the same. Maybe because Barb is more comfortable with me, maybe because it was the sheep’s drowsy time, maybe because I just used the light from the 24-hour night light rather than turning on the barn lights, Barb was quite a bit calmer for me. Babs did not seem ravenous for me. I’m thinking Barb just needed to get used to the idea. I’ll see how they are doing in the morning.

Ebony and Ivory

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.

Welcome To The World, Little Edith!

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.

Welcome Floyd

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.

Happy Birthday X 4 = Mayhem in the Barn (Sheep Are Sooo Stupid!)

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!