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.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Rosemary's Babies

(Sorry this took so long to get's been a hectic week)

Rosmary's twin rams--only a few hours old

Re-scheduled shearing was on the 5th and Rosemary was due on the 7th. No one in their right mind wants to shear that close to lambing, but unfortunately that is how things worked out. Rosemary and Willow were the first two 'out of the gate' to be sheared in order to keep the stress time as short as possible. She was sheared about 10:00 a.m and turned on to pasture.

This little guy has more black on him and is a perfect little yuglet--he is also the one I thought at first might be a moorit.

A little after noon, I went around to the paddock to open gates so the sheep could come in and get a drink if they needed to. As I was opening the gate I looked up in the pasture and saw... a little white lamb. Now wait a minute. I don't have any white lambs! Then the little tableau registered with me, and I realized it was Rosemary, standing with not one, but two wet little lambs.

Same lamb, a few days later.

She had lambed near the same area she had last year (most of the ewes head back to the barn, but not Rosemary). The day was very warm, and mostly sunny, so it was an ideal day to lamb outdoors. I went and crawled through the fence opening (sheep height only) to check things out. Both lambs were still damp, but were up and nursing. Both were good sized and very vigorous. Both were wildly spotted black and white yuglet/fleckets. And both were RAMS. Sigh.

This is the twin that is mostly white--a 'few spot' ;-) if you will. He also is a yuglet, although his eye patches are larger, they are distinct.

I kept tabs on them throughout the rest of shearing. Rosemary passed her afterbirth, the boys nursed and then nested in a bed of leaves. The rest of the sheep kept their distance after a few sniffs.

Whoa, Mom! Slow down....

Once every one left later in the afternoon, I went and fetched the twins and Rosemary. After dipping navels I moved them into a jug, where Rosemary got fed and watered. She seemed quite relieved to be moved into the lambing suite.

Last year Rosemary had her lambs while I was at work, while she also had a full fleece. The lambs were small and weak, and very nearly died. I made an emergency run home after my Mom called and after furiously working with them for awhile was able to get colostrum in them and get them up and going. Rosemary is an excellent mother and after their rough start they thrived and became very sweet friendly little lambs. Both of those lambs were solid moorit with some minimal head splashing. Their sire was Just Jack--remember him? The splashy moorit and white ramling that visited here the fall before. Rosemary's sire is Minwawe Redford,a fawn/white smirslet sokket, and Just Jack had lots and lots of splash so I was a wee bit disappointed that they didn't click and produce at least some head spotting. So, fast forward to this year. The ram I used on Rosemary was Jackdaw---Just Jack's son in fact. If you'll remember Jackdaw is a flashy black and white smirslet flecket ram.

Out in the big world for the first time the brothers console each other

Not sure what caused the sudden and violent outburst of color, but am very happy about it. The difference in the bloodlines came from the Jackdaw's dam's side and there is some distant sharing of Stone Ridge Harris and Shandrew Rouen bloodlines there with Rosemary.

The lamb with the most spotting on him has confused me a bit. In certain light he looks brownish around the head and eyes. But his body spotting is definitely black--I think. I've about come to the conclusion that he is black and white but has some phaeo brown on the head. I think. Ha...

Rosemary is in a hurry, and the little guys stay close and run fast!

I do know one thing--they are cute as the dickens and friendly as all get out! And..if there are no keeper ewes this year, at least one of these little guys may be staying.

One ewe, Willow, still left to go. She is as big as a house, but lambing doesn't seem imminent. I looked up records last night to see when I took the ram out and what her last possible due date could be. By my calculations she could go as long as April 27th! Yikes, I certainly hope not. Lambing season has already drug on much longer than it should have. The size of the lambs is all over the charts--from tiny to almost half grown.

Uh, oh, someone isn't paying attention...

Now my attention turns towards getting the girls out on grass--there is plenty of it and it's growing fast! Oh..and maybe some attention is turned to those silly little lambs playing in the pasture.

Tuckered little lambs after their first big day out.

For my non-Shetland readers---yuglet, flecket, sokket and smirslet are all color patterns (i.e. patches around eyes etc.). Moorit is a brown color. Phaeo is short for phaeomelanin which usually manifests as brownish coloring on young lambs (more often in lighter colored lambs and fades with time).


Michelle said...

Such splashy fellows! I'm sorry she didn't give you a ewe lamb with bling. Could Willow give you spots? If not, I hope your last ewe (and mine!) at least gives you girls!

Star said...

Gorgeous little lambs. I would love to give them a cuddle and mum Rosemary looks so proud and happy. She must feel wonderful without the fleece to carry round, now that the weather is getting better.
Nearly done now.
Blessings, Star

Kim said...

Gorgeous little boys! It seems to be a ram year every blog/page I check.

I'm still anxiously waiting for something to happen around here. The girls are looking particularly uncomfortable, big bellies swaying with each step. I'm also concerned because I've waited weeks for our shearer to call me back, and now he's finally going to make it our way, on Sunday. Like you, so close to due date it makes me nervous. Since they're so close to the end I suppose the worst that could happen is that they'd go into labor a little early???

bookjunky said...

I am glad to know what the pattern is called, since I just got a little ram (shetland-x) with a similar pattern - black on eyes and nose, then spotted black on the body and brown and black socks on three legs. He looks like a little clown.

Darling sheep.

Kathy said...

What a couple of cuties! (I should start lambing this week, I hope. It hasn't started and already I'm ready for it to be over - just from waiting!)

I sure hope these guys have what it takes as a sire. ;)

And I hope the Shepherdess is doing OK too.

AJ-OAKS said...

Awww, they are adorable. Which one are you thinking of keeping?
Thanks for exlplaining the terminology.
Glad Rosemary had her handsome boys with no problems.

phylliso said...

The one little guy looks like he has a catchy smile on his face,how proud Mama must be,phylliso

Tammy said...

They are so cute, for rams. ha ha Willow probably won't give me true yuglets/fleckets but will give me a nice wildly spotted Ag flecket or two, or a solid with nice head spotting.
Star--Rosemary did such a fine job and she loves her little boys.
Kim, there does seem to be allot of little rams this year! Heres hoping your girls lamb SOON.
Thanks for stopping in Bookjunky! I hope you enjoy your little guy, he sounds like a cutie!
Kathy, Well, I hope lambing is going well out your way! It's finished here. I will probably wether both of these little guys, as cute as they are, they are all related somewhat to my ewes.
AJ--I really like the mostly white one, but they may both stay--as wethers. We shall see!
Phyllis--these guys crack me up, as they do seem to be smiling!