New mama

Lambing season two years ago found me with a ewe who delivered twins and then refused to allow one of them to nurse. The ewe lamb was of good weight, appeared healthy and I could find no reason why the ewe was rejecting her. I had not bought or built a grafting gate at that time so couldn’t graft the lamb onto the ewe and I didn’t have time to bottle feed her either. I had reconciled myself to losing the lamb when the lamb came up with her own solution. Every time she tried to nurse from either side, the ewe would butt her away. However, if she went under the ewe’s tail and nursed from behind where the ewe couldn’t see her, the ewe ignored her.

I was so impressed with the lamb’s ingenuity and determination that I kept her.

She didn’t lamb for me last year but this year it was apparent that she was definitely pregnant. I was concerned that she might also be a less than ideal mother and finally this year bought a grafting gate just for such emergencies.

I’ve been checking on sheep periodically all weekend as several ewes were looking uncomfortable and ready to lamb. Just before feeding time I went out to find this ewe cleaning off lambs. She had twins – a ram lamb about 5.75 lbs and a ewe lamb about 5.5 lbs. The weights are on the low side but both lambs have been up and nursing so I am hopeful she will be able to raise both. At least for the present she is letting both nurse. DSC02041

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Be Careful What you Wish for

While I’m waiting for more ewes to lamb I thought I’d dust off some drafts that never made it on the blog.

Last year was an interesting one. New Mexico has been in a drought for several years and it seemed as though there was less and less rainfall with each passing year. The typical summer monsoons were absent and the impact was felt on many levels.

So when it started to rain in early September (2013) at first I was elated. That quickly turned to anxiety and then to dread.

Below is the post from September 10, 2013:

It rained most of today. The frontage road is completely washed out with huge amounts of debris from flash floods. My road is washed out and will also require heavy equipment to repair. The turn from the road onto my drive is gone — I had to leave the car on the side of the road because I couldn’t get off the road to park in front of the gate. Only one side of my gate is functional as the other is buried. I have never before had the top end of my drive under water. The small areas that aren’t underwater are covered in debris. Walking down my drive the water was up to my knees at times. The sheep out in pasture were standing in water up to their bellies. All of the pastures were underwater and for the first time since I moved here, there was water all the way up to the deck. Luckily the house is elevated.

The animal pens to the south of the house flooded, as did the chicken coop and barn to the north of the house. I’ve never before had an issue with flooding, even during the monsoons, this far from the east end of the property (closer to the road)

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The second photo is the driveway.

By the time I was able to check on the goats and horse and ensure the house was safe, Tuck and I were not able to find the sheep in the pasture. They had evidently found higher, and hopefully drier, ground in the trees. Since Tuck was literally swimming in sections of the pasture and I couldn’t take a step without getting stuck in the mud underneath the water, I finally gave up on attempting to bring the sheep in for the night and left them where they had evidently found some type of shelter.