2020 Lambing Season

Well, it has been very eventful Spring. Although we were quarantined on our little farm, we were very busy. Lambs were coming from all directions and in a variety of awkward presentations. The first arrived in the night completely unexpected. When I first saw it I thought it was one of the cats.

This is Black Pepper on the left. The cat is on the right.

The next arrival came with some advance warning, which was a good thing for this first time mother because she needed some assistance. Virginia took her maiden voyage into the birth canal in search front legs. The result was Stirling Silver.

Stirling Silver

But Ella was not done causing trouble. She refused to stand to let Stirling nurse, so he came to associate us with feeding time. Now he’s a pet.

When Annie went into labor we thought we would have an easy time since she is experienced and an excellent mother. We waited patiently. Then we waited some more. Then we got nervous. Finally, Virginia suited up again, found a nose and foot and another foot further back. But she couldn’t bring it forward.

Then she realized that the leg belonged to a second lamb that was also coming through the birth canal. So everybody had to go back in, get sorted out and then come out one at a time. We named them Nougat and Toffee.

Nougat and Toffee

With this much trouble we decided we were cursed. We watched Priss closely as she is a first timer and a little nervous. Fortunately, it was daytime again. Unfortunately, she proved to have a very narrow birth canal. After watching her straining for far too long and getting nothing but a nose, we decided it was time for Virginia to go in once again and look for feet. This was made difficult by the narrow birth canal and Priss’ screaming. I was so nervous my innards were in sympathy turmoil. Once she found them and pulled them forward the rest went smoothly.

We sat back exhausted and relieved, and watched the lamb trying to get up and nurse. Then we saw something emerging from Priss that didn’t look like a lamb or a placenta. Priss laid down and strained and groaned and the thing got larger and darker. With another ferocious push, the blob shot out and laid there. Then it wiggled and we could see something pale in the murkiness. It was a lamb, thank god. Priss turned out to be an excellent mother but the first lamb did not make it through the night.

Priss and Dubble Stuff

The next morning we found Savanna had given birth to twins during the night and everyone looked great. But then we noticed that one of the lambs was not nursing and Savanna wasn’t making it easy for her. She even butted her away. She only let the ram lamb nurse. As we tried to encourage sharing we realized that both her teats were blocked, but she still wouldn’t let the ewe lamb nurse even after cleaning and unblocking them.

The little ewe lamb was getting weak and still wasn’t interested in nursing. We put her with Priss to see if Priss would accept her as a replacement. Although Priss cleaned her, the lamb would not try to nurse. We thought about milking Priss, but she was too nervous. So we got the colostrum replacement, but the lamb was not interested in it. So Virginia sat with her and explained the importance of milk and coaxed her and cajoled her and persisted and she finally latched on and sucked.

From then on, we bottle fed Edith and put Ella in a strangle hold to stand for Stirling every four to six hours.

Edith and her pet, Virginia
Edith and her other pet

Things were then quiet for a few weeks. We had suspected that we had a happy surprise coming from when the ram got out in January. And we weren’t disappointed. Fortunately, Chewie was like a pro. Everything went smoothly. Chewie had a “Mini Me”.

Evelyn and Chewie

It’s getting close to weaning time. We’ve set up a creep feeder and they all know how to use it.

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