At least my loss of sleep is being rewarded!
Kay was waiting for me in the barn when I went out to feed Sunday afternoon, presenting me with 2 little hooves and a nose. Soon a tiny little lamb (less than 5 pounds) was on the ground, and Kay settled down to her dinner. The lamb was a long time standing, so I tube fed her to make sure she got some colostrum. This became a recurring theme with Nellie. She was unsteady on her feet, and to add to the confusion, Kay has more than 2 teats. In fact, she has 4, only 2 of which actually work. Plus, poor Nell’s suck reflex was not the greatest. It took her 46 hours to figure out that all that good stuff I was putting in her tummy actually could be had on demand direct from mom. 46 hours of me going out every 3-4 hours round the clock to tube her. Worth the patience and perseverance, since she is nursing like a champ now.
In the meantime, Fraija went into labor late Sunday night (actually early Monday morning). She was escorted into the barn and with a little help soon was nursing a healthy boy. I hit the hay about 5 am and set the alarm for 9 am. When I went out to feed Nell again, Fraija had delivered another lamb. I had seen her pass the afterbirth after the first lamb, so this was a bit of a surprise. Meet Nelson and Nora:
Nelson has lots of small dark grey spots all over his body. Nora is also spotted, especially on her back legs. On one hip, the spots are black. On the other they are much larger, and brown. Talk about multi-colored!
Yesterday morning, Ida Lynn had a strapping white ram lamb by her side when I went out about 9 am. He is a bruiser, already broader than the older lambs. And it looks like he will be horned as well. I’ve named him Ned:
Finally, this afternoon when I went out to feed, I could see that Marge had a lamb by her side. To everyone’s disgust, I held off on feeding until they were both in the barn out of harm’s way. She is a lovely tall CVM ewe lamb. Mom Marge is ok with colored lambs as long as she doesn’t also have a white lamb (yes, sheep have prejudices too!). I haven’t named her yet.
All this action makes for some shuffling. My barn isn’t very big to begin with (only 8′ by 16′), and it’s made even smaller by the fact that I’ve partitioned half of it off for Ashe (the ewe who is down) and whoever her companion is (Kay and Nell at the moment). The other half can hold 2 lambing jugs (3 if I am very creative). I like to keep a ewe and her lamb(s) in the barn for at least 24 hours, until I can make sure that the lambs have figured out how to nurse well and the ewe is not likely to lose them in the pen. I also take advantage of the close quarters to try to handle the lambs a bit, so they can figure out that I am ok no matter what mama may say. This handling works better with some lambs than others. Norma Jean is perfectly comfortable being picked up and carried around, and will fall asleep in my lap at the drop of a hat, but I’m pretty sure that Ned wants little else to do with me now that he is out of the barn. That’s ok, since I’m hoping that he will be worth keeping a ram.
Ashe is proving to be quite the baby sitter. Norma Jean climbs through the fence to get back in the barn to snooze in comfort, and Nell is willing to share the snuggle rights next to the warm auntie. You can really see the size difference here. Yes, Norma Jean is 6 days older, but she weighs about 4 times what Nellie does. Hopefully, now that she has figured out nursing Nell will catch up somewhat.
So far the count is 7 lambs (6 surviving), of which 4 are girls. Still to lamb are Faith, Ashe and Irene for sure. Amber is still a maybe, as are the goats. Unfortunately, it looks like Eartha may have lost her pregnancy. She was developing an udder back in December, but last time I felt it was gone. I hope she will prove me wrong, but I am not hopeful at this point.
Hopefully next time I will have some weaving to report. I’ve been planning some warps. Time to dig out the warping board and get to work!