Tuesday, 12 March – Lambing has begun. We are underway. For the first time in many years, none of the ewes jumped the gun and started early. Today was the first expected due date and Annabel and Yuliya did not disappoint. Yvonne was also due today and, in fact, started playing games with us yesterday: talking to her as yet unborn lamb, doing a bit of nest building. Nothing came of it yesterday or today.
Annabel skipped breakfast and was acting very uncomfortable all morning. She is a first timer, which always is a bit of a concern for us, since she does not yet have a history of how she will deal with the whole process. Around noon she did a nice job of delivering a ram lamb all on her own. She has done her homework and had all the procedures down pretty well for a first timer. Her boy was a good size (12.7 lbs) and smart enough to figure out how to nurse as soon as the two of them moved into their jug. By the way this is Andrew’s first lamb.
Chauncey has arrived. Here he is, with mom, a couple of days later.
Last year Yuliya was our first ewe to deliver. This year she came in second. After we had our dinner we went back to the barn to find that she had already delivered another set of twins, a big ram and slightly smaller ewe. She was doing a fine job on her own, along with Shadow, who had decided to help, in the hopes that she could adopt the ram lamb! It would be a good choice, as both lambs are cuter than normal. That’s probably Axel’s, their dad’s, genes showing through. These two, Cecil and Cecily are his first lambs.
When we went to bed, Yvonne was still vigorously building nests in the back end of the barn.
Wednesday, 13 March – I checked on Yvonne at 1 AM and 5 AM. In contrast to last night, she was very quiet and still. By morning chores she had not gotten up and had significant amounts of foamy nasal discharge (something we had not experienced before). We called our vets and luckily Joel was able to get here within a half hour. In between our call and his arrival, Yvonne said to heck with all of us and went into labor. Joel was puzzled by the discharge, but could not detect anything unusual. Yvonne was not totally dilated, but Joel was able to tell that a lamb was presented backward, something we needed to be watchful about. We left her alone at 9:15 AM; an hour later she delivered two nice ewe lambs all on her own. They were a bit small and not very vigorous. Eventually, we helped them out by stripping some colostrum from Yvonne and tube feeding each of the lambs with the milk. Carmen and Carmelita perked up and now are doing well. Yvonne’s nasal discharge also dissipated. All is well.
Today is an interesting contrast to last year. Spring still seems a long ways off. There are some hopeful signs however. The Horned Larks have arrived back and are frequenting the exposed shoulders of Clark Lake Road. Not that it is a sign of spring, but we had a dramatic visit from a full grown, immature Bald Eagle, resting for a time on one of the large branches of a maple tree just beyond the barn.That is truly one large bird!
As a contrast for a year’s difference here are scenes exactly a year apart.
Thursday, 15 March – We hit our first speed bump this morning. Between 2 AM and 6AM Æbleskive delivered a big, vigorous ewe lamb. When we arrived they were half way across the barn from each other. Æbleskive is another first time mom. It appears that in a confused state, she left the lamb. We eventually gathered them into a jug, where mom would have little to do with her daughter. After failing to convince her of the fact that she had a lamb that needed attention, we hauled out our stanchion. Once Æbleskive was restrained the lamb learned to nurse. Mom has become more tolerant and accepting, but based on past experience we will need to leave her stanchioned for a couple more days. It was not a good way to start a day and served to take a lot of the joy out of it.
Winifred set things back on a happier plane just before evening chores. She rapidly delivered a medium size ewe and a large ram. Before the ram landed on the ground the ewe was already up and nursing. We figure she wanted to stock up, knowing she would have good competition from her larger brother. It is a joy to have an excellent mom like Winifred. She put smiles back on our faces.
Chauncey is already a friendly chum and helps in the smile department. He is already checking out what is going on in the main pen.