Saturday, April 18, 2009

Be careful what you wish for...

After two years with strung-out lambing seasons--a few weeks of intense lambing, then a lull, then another few intense weeks--I vowed to get lambing done quickly this year. I only left the rams in for about 6 weeks, then separated them again. The ewes cycle into heat about every 2-3 weeks, so that should have given them plenty of time to "settle".

Well, we started lambing the 7th, and ten days later we have 28 lambs on the ground, at last count! There are two mature ewes and three ewe lambs left to go, and the two ewes will probably be soon. One ewe lamb is clearly bred--starting to develop a small udder--but the other two could be either plump or pregnant. They aren't showing any udder development yet. But, they have all been very attentive to each ewe as she lambs, which I've found is characteristic of young ewes pregnant with their first lambs. Those that aren't pregnant generally are off playing "king of the mountain" or something--they just aren't interested in maternal stuff.

We've had a few singles that I hoped would be twins (Ewedora and Annie, lambing for the first time at age 2), but those have been balanced by four sets of triplets. We are currently at a 200% live lambing rate for ALL ewes that have lambed, not just the mature ewes!

We've assisted one birth--a first-time mom with a HUGE lamb that came out with one front foot tucked under his belly. Instead of trying to push him back in to straighten the leg, I was able to catch the back of the knee with a finger and unhook it from under the pelvic bones where it was catching. A little more traction, and she pushed him right out. She didn't want much to do with him at first, but we tied her nearby for awhile and eventually she settled down. Now she stomps her foot defensively at anyone who comes near her beloved baby!

We lost one tiny triplet (there may have been an internal defect of some sort); we nursed one through a bad bout of hypothermia and diarrhea; and we're supplementing one set with milk replacer in a teat bucket, but really we've had very few problems and the lambs are healthy and active now.

It's a striking bunch of lambs this year. Lots of black ones with white faces and feet again. And we have one lamb--named Fancy--who is black with striking white lines doodled all over his body.

1 comment:

Wandering Coyote said...

Hi Natalya,

Thought I'd stop by to say hi as I haven't done so in AGES!

Sounds like things are trucking along, and your new lambs sound very cute!