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.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Willow Lambs...Lambing is Done!

Willow was the one ewe I knew for sure that I didn't know when she would lamb. However, I suspected it would have been earlier on, near the time her daughter, Luna lambed. Nope. Then I figured it'd be the next week. Nope. I went ahead and trimmed around her bottom and udder 'just in case' before shearing, because I was sure she'd lamb before then. Nope.

Shearing came and went and still no lambs. I was sure shearing would bring on lambs soon--I mean it worked for Rosemary, right? Nope.

A week after shearing on Monday and still no lambs. I was home sick with a springsummer cold. Although I digress, my whole weekend was consumed with that stinking cold. Anyway. It was a very warm day, and when I went out about 10:30 a.m. to do a head count of lambs and ewes, I noticed Willow was secluded in the barn. Aha--finally! Wow, this was going to work out great, since I was home anyway. Suffice it to say there followed a day of frequent barn checks, watching Willow watch me. Watching Willow stand up and stretch, watching Willow waddle around, watching Willow dig into and snack on hay. I was worried (of course) as that old story about the ewe-that-goes-into labor-but-never-really-goes-into-labor-,-and-ends-up-with-dead-lambs-inside-and-dies-herself twirled around in my tired brain. Again, I stray off topic, but that is one thing I really liked about the Dorsets--when they got ready to lamb, they just went up to the barn a few minutes before and plopped them out--none of this days ahead thinking about it stuff the Shetland's pull on me. Anyways. Surely she would have them by night. Nope.

I checked at 9:30 p.m., and she was in the Shetland barn by herself. Uh-huh. At 3:45 a.m she was back in the main barn with the other sheep. Oh, for crying out loud. At 5:15 a.m when I went out to feed the sheep, she had a lamb. Oh yes she did! I was so thankful. I was just sure 'something' was wrong. I had planned to get up around 2:00 a.m. but I didn't manage it--I did manage to lay there half asleep/half awake most the night worst case scenario-ing.

At feeding time, I shut the gate across the barn and fed 'the big girls' (which includes Lanny Wilson the wether)in an unfamiliar spot. Once they screamed and panicked and dashed around in disbelief they settled down to eat at their 'picnic'. I was then able to go see 'what we got'. I was pretty sure she would be popping out a second lamb there anytime. What we got was this monstrous 'little' lamb with all kinds of swirly baby wool and color. I tentatively tapped horn buds (none). I dared not hope, so I tried to peek at critical areas. Key boy parts seemed to be missing, and then hope turned to reality when she --yes SHE---tinkled for the first time! WOOOOT. An ewe lamb.

A very frisky little ewe lamb who was hopping about her mommy while still damp and drippy. Finding the udder was no problem for this little girlie.

Meanwhile I was still waitin' for that second lamb. And waitin'. Finally I had to go to work, and came to the conclusion that she was done, and all that was coming out next was afterbirth. So into a lambing jug they went, navel dipped, despite Willow trying to side swipe me. Fresh water, hay and a handful of cookies to sooth the troubled waters.

The little lamb seems to be doing fine now. She is having trouble with a 'pasty butt' (for want of a better term), which often happens with single lambs that have access to all that rich milk and no one to share it with. She is a big thing---all tall and lanky besides. I have no idea what color she is..really. I know she is an Ag flecket (well, I think I know that much). Her head spotting is very brown, with the typical lighter rings around the eyes that usually differentiate the brown based lambs from the black ones. Her tongue looks brownish and pink. (spotted) However her body spotting looks black to me. I'm having the same trouble with one of Rosemary's rams. He certainly looks brown about the head, but the body spots look black. Now last night, I shone the flashlight on both and in that light they both look brownish. So, it's a puzzle, one I've never had to this extreme before. (Well, a few days later it's easy to tell she is brown based, even though she still has 'black' spots on her back--I'm still confused a bit on Rosemary's ram though, but I expect time will reveal his true color).

And so lambing is done. Stats up on the next post, I hope. So far everyone seems to be thriving, and even if they are all shapes and sizes, lamb races have commenced. This year many of the older ewes and yearlings are joining in and it's quite a funny sight to see.

Have a good week!


Michelle said...

Yay! A beautiful, flashy-splashy GIRL!

Anonymous said...

Willow did good! Her lamb is a cutie pie.

I enjoy our goat kids racing, jumping and playing together here. It is better than a drive in movie!

Have a great day.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Can't help but smile when I see your photos. Lambs are the cutest.

I think perhaps you picked the only animal that has as much or more trouble birthing than a horse. Statistics on horse births are pretty scary and I would was always in panic mode for a couple months each year.

Congrats on your fine crop of lambs.

Vicki Lane said...

A great way to end your lambing season!

Kim said...

I'm with Vicki, "great way to end your lambing season"! What a pretty thing. :)

JK said...

Congratulations on the little ewe! She is precious.

kristi said...

I love her perfect to end lambing with a ewe! I think the ewes do that playing thing with us because they know it irritates us;)

AJ-OAKS said...

Yay, it's a girl!! And a pretty girl!!
Now you can breathe!! Lambing season is over. :)
Do you have a name picked out for her?

Anonymous said...
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Tammy said...

Michelle---yes! I was very glad to see that it was a little girl,after the run of rams.
Pam---it's lovely, 'free' entertainment, isn't it? Watching all those babies having such great fun.
Marnie--I've been very blessed over the years and not had to help (really help, as in go in and sort out babies) a Shetland since my first lambing in 2002. I have had to help out (twice) a Dorset and Cheviot. I'm afraid if I had to deal with what some do every year, I'd soon be out of raising sheep. I still worry though....From what I've read of does sound like allot can go wrong there too.
Yes Vicki and Kim, it's great to end with an ewe after a successful lambing season.
Thanks Jama, she is a little hotshot.
Kristi--you gotta wonder what goes on in their minds. I know the looks they give are like 'just GO away, already!'. As for here coloring, it is very pretty, and will fade out to an oatmeal as she matures. However, she will produce 'real' spots for me when bred to a spotted ram.
Thanks AJ--and you are right, it's a huge relief to be through it. Her name is Stella. :-)