Reprieved

The first year I had lambs I planned on keeping the two best ewe lambs. However, due to a mistake on my part, I ended up selling the best ewe lamb and keeping a cute brown, but lesser quality, lamb.

Last season, one of the two ewe lambs I had kept (a tri-colored ewe) had a single lamb. Single lambs are common for first time mothers and often preferable as it lessens the possibility of complications. The other ewe lamb (a light brown ewe) did not have a lamb. Since she was still less than a year old and on the small side I wasn’t concerned.

This season it appeared that none of the sheep had been bred, and even after some of the ewes started to look a little pregnant and after four of the ewes lambed, the little brown ewe looked just as petite and small as usual. I figured the little brown ewe would be my meat for next year. So I was greatly surprised when I found a single lamb on the ground this morning and upon inspection it turned out that the little brown ewe was the mom.

The little lamb had only been partially cleaned off and the ewe didn’t seem to have figured out the connection between it and herself. My experienced ewes could probably manage without being given some one on one (or two or three) time with their lambs and if I don’t have room in the lambing jugs I often will leave the experienced ewe and her lamb(s) in the main pen. The lambing jugs were built though to give the mom a chance to bond with her lambs and eat without competition for a couple of days. This was certainly a case where the lambing jug was needed.

So I duly turned the two ewes and their lambs out of the lambing jugs and cleaned it in preparation for the new mom and lamb. Catching the lamb was easy but the little ewe was having none of it and since I won’t use a dog during lambing season, I got my exercise this morning trying to catch the ewe. I did finally succeed and bedded ewe and lamb down in the lambing jug. It soon became apparent I was going to have to help the lamb nurse at least initially so after I finished chores, back into the lambing jug I went. (I will have to admit that the smaller size is a distinct advantage when one has to catch and hold an unwilling ewe.) I think the lamb and ewe have figured it out as when I went out a couple of hours later, the lamb seemed to be nursing on its own just fine.

Between holding two ewes on Thursday and this morning, I will shortly be making an appointment with my chiropractor for my neck and back . The lambing jugs were built as cozy shelters for the sheep but they are not conducive for someone, even as short as I am, to spend any time holding animals.

The new little lamb is female and, at 8 lbs, not a bad size for a small first time mother.  DSC01700DSC01699

The rest of the photos are of the other lambs. Seven on the ground and nine ewes that may (or may not be) pregnant.

DSC01705DSC01712DSC01713

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