Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Baby Count

Blackberry and her little Deb
Lambing (the act of producing lambs--yes, unfortunately I had to explain this term to my co-workers......) started one week and 4 days ago. As of now, this minute, it is half over with. Four ewes have lambed and four more are due over the next week and a half (or so--I still have one 'unknown').
Two of the lamb-ers were registered Shetlands and two were 3/4 Merinos (1/4 Dorset) who were bred to a Shetland ram.
Spots are desirable in my eyes, but do not seem destined to fill my pastures. Luckily for me, I enjoy all flavors of Shetlands! ;-) Colors thus far out of five lambs: 1 Moorit, 2 Black (Ag Grey) with white splashes, and two solid white. ( I was hoping these little crossbreds would show some spotting, as Melody, one of the mothers has a large black spot on one shoulder).
There seems to be a greater number of singles this year than I've ever had. In a normal year, there is usually one who will single, sometimes two. This year there have been three singles already, and one set of twins. The great news is that out of five lambs--four are girls. I am hoping this trend continues. Redford (their sire) will redeem himself on the lack of numbers if he continues to produce lots of girls!!
Half done.... I will be quite happy when its all done. Its a tense time for me, as I worry about everything that may or may not happen. Last year was a particularly hard year, and seared my brain with even more possible worst case scenarios that could happen. ;-0
So far all have been unassisted births and three out of the four had them while I wasn't even around to pace! The fourth had hers unassisted, but I believe the lamb had one foot back. I have had several ewes birth their lambs when there has been one foot back. Depending on the ewe and the size of the lamb, usually it works itself out, with an occasional bit of help from me. All four ewes have passed their afterbirth from 1-4 hours later. All three that singled had to put up with me popping around to check on them again and again, as I was sure they were going to twin.
I believe the one lamb I did see born might not have made it, or would have been rejected if I hadn't been around to pen up her mom. But she might have made it. Her mother was quite overwrought about the whole thing (see previous post) and a newbie.
Rouen (Black iset) Shetland is due by the end of the week, and Willow (grey) and Tabitha (Moorit) are due around the first of next week. Black Duckie will lamb if and when she well pleases.
Weather predicted is heavy rains for the whole week---even into Saturday. While we need the rain badly, this Saturday is also scheduled for shearing. Its not looking terribly promising at this point. I'm still in a dither about how I want to set everything up. (i.e. getting 20 + reluctant sheep from point a to point b).
Lastly I have learned today that my truck is dying. This is a very sad, bad thing. Its been a lovely little truck, although it looks a bit scabby. It seems that head gaskets are involved and other parts and a bunch of labor and well, you can't hardly spend $1500.00 on a 15 year old truck. Now I have to start searching for another vehicle, go and discuss a loan with the bank and all that un-fun stuff. Pray for me--I need lots of direction on this!

Rain and her week old twins


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I'm sure the Lord has the perfect truck picked out for you. Hang in there until He unites you with it!

You have a lot more patience with ditzy sheep than I do. I would have found those psycho Merino twins a new home -- especially after those big ol' things couldn't produce twins when bred to a little Shetland ram!

Tammy said...

Well, sometimes patience wears thin! Last night was a rodeo (and no it wasn't the "Sisters"!)--I'll try and post a little later on that. In the "Sisters" defense they come from a long line of twinners--even on the first lambing. I'm beginning to suspect a less than fertile ram since there are so many singles this year..... The Sisters made leaps and bounds in the parenting department last night. :-) I know that the Lord has the perfect truck for me--he has blessed me in that area before---I just pray for the wisdom to be patient and see what He wants me to! :-0