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.
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.
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!
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.