Wednesday, March 28, 2012


While the flock was grazing this morning one ewe kept going off by herself in the brush.  I remarked to John that she was an adventurer, a free thinker. He looked at me like I was nuts. 

If I had been using my brain, it would have been obvious what was going on. 

I didn't  think she was pregnant.  Just the other day I checked her bag, nada.  Flat as a pancake.  I figured she was going to be a cull, or she was one of the last ones due from the second set.  

When I moved the sheep back into the pen and started fiddle farting around I spied her on the ground groaning, grunting with a bag of water protruding. 

Ooops.  Guess I totally missed that one. 

It was a good thing we were there, the lamb presented with locked elbows.  The ewe is very skittish, I had to wait till she was on the ground, sneak around Jim who was keeping watch - to swoop in, shove my hands in and root around a bit.  With a pop the lamb came free, as you can see in this shot Jim kept a vigil as the lamb's head emerges. 

"Hello my little lamb, welcome to the world.  I am your momma...I think."

Since the wind was howling I was able to move her over to the field shelter to block the wind while she delivered the second lamb. 

This poor ewe, she was shell shocked. This was her first time lambing and she appeared dazed and confused.   

In this shot her expression screams "WTF just happened?"

The new family has since settled into a jug, they are warm with full bellies.  Mom is eating and drank an entire bucket of water with molasses in a couple hours. 

It is important to note that while the ewe was delivering her her second lamb, Sadie the Lamb thief tried to sneak in and steal her first lamb.  

Sadie has a hoarding problem.  Behold her lamb collection. 

She is now caring for 6 lambs.  The two she delivered, Fred she adopted and 3 more who nurse from her, and their real mothers.  She shoves them all together, lies over them while they sleep.   It is too cute for words. 


17 ewes delivered
5  remain with due dates beginning next week (from second ram)

35 lambs total
1 still born (disrupted attachment - dog attack)
1 death at birth (premature ram lamb)
1 death from birth complication (ewe lamb died in birth canal during pull - TOO BIG)
1 death from being smashed in jug by ewe (ram lamb).

31 surviving lambs
11 ram lambs (13 total less two ram lamb deaths)
20 ewe lambs (21 total, less one ewe lamb death)

2 sets of triplets
13 sets of twins
2 singles

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Because I am rediscovering muscles I never even knew I had, blogging is going to be short this evening...I am unable to actually pick up my arms, makes typing difficult. 

I have been enjoying my iPhone through lambing, it is fun to play with the pictures and Instagram when I am bored waiting for a lamb to be born or just letting the sheep graze in an area I need to watch them.

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words.  So here is the last couple of weeks in Instagram.   

As you all know I have some favorite ewes.  This is one of them, Rebecca.  She is a Border Leicester.

I just got her in the birthing jug when she delivered the first ewe lamb.  Shortly after she delivered the twin.  She stayed lying down turned and started to clean them both off.  As I helped towel them dry she licked my fingers and started talking to her lambs.  Since she was doing such a nice job I left her alone and shot a few pictures of this endearing scene. 

She has the first born lamb tucked under her fleece, cleaning it off and keeping her warm.  She got a wee bit chilled while mom gave birth to it's twin.  Rebecca seemed to know that.  She kept her tucked in that warm spot the entire time she cleaned her lambs. 

"Hi there, I am your sister, who are ewe?".

Rebecca continues to make me smile every day.  I love this ewe. 

A good mom for sure.

The lambs are growing leaps and bounds.

Fred with his sister

A lamb pile around the tree on top of what is left of the old round bale.  I want to clean this up but the lambs love to lay on the tarp and soft hay.

Jim is tolerating the lambs in his space....finally.

I think he is getting used to his job.  Often I will find him all by himself in the farthest reaches of the pasture - having a snit.  Personally I think it is growing pains and he is sick of the young-ens.

Fred always seems to find the best spots to take a nap.  Warm in the sun...

Lambs in a row

Lambs on a rock

Triplets tucked into a triplet pile

A field full of lambs

The lambs are having fun exploring the pasture

Romney ewe with her twins

John luring the sheep back into the pen on a bitterly cold & snowy day with the all powerful pink grain bucket.

John the Llama whisperer

Just a pretty scene...

Grazing in the new pasture

Brynn helping to funnel the lambs and ewes back into the night pasture.

Brynn inches forward, then sits to hold pressure.  At least that is what I think she is doing.  She often sits instead of lie down, depends on the situation. 

Brynn waits patiently, scooting forward on her tummy, until the lambs get up. 

Onward we go.

A slice of Heaven on Earth. 

And next year...we will be lambing across the street in THIS!  Behold the Barn of my Dreams. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Job and Lambing Update

I have a new job.  Beyond lambing, sheep care, dog training etc.

Presently I am working at the farm next door to our sheep.  The owner has graciously allowed us to graze the pasture and hired me to work  on the property clearing, landscaping, general up keep and what ever else needs to be done.

Between lambing and my new job I am absolutely exhausted.  I have lost just over 25 lbs this month. 

This is an example of what I am doing with the help from a chainsaw and a 'gator' or 'mule' and my trusty co-worker Brynn. 

Here is a shot of a small section of the fence-line cleared today. Trees and storm damage has fallen over fence.

Six full loads chain sawed and taken to the wood pile for chipping, later...


Another view of the same fence-line, other direction - Before


Just a mere chip off the massive iceberg of work that remains to be completed.

Onto lambs...

The lambs have been growing.  We have leveled off with 29 lambs until the next batch starts.


16 ewes delivered
6 more remaining with due dates beginning next week (from second ram)

33 lambs total
1 still born (disrupted attachment - dog attack)
1 death at birth (premature ram lamb)
1 death from birth complication (ewe lamb died in birth canal during pull - TOO BIG)
1 death from being smashed in jug by ewe (ram lamb).

29 surviving lambs
10 ram lambs (12 total less two ram lamb deaths)
19 ewe lambs (20 total, less one ewe lamb death)

All banded, tagged, vaccinated and growing like weeds.  We do not seem to have any bad mothers.  The cluns & romneys have really impressed me - they are fantastic moms.  Maimie has been taking excellent care of her triplets, very good mom.  Border Leicester ewes are a little more casual in their mothering skills, but still doing a good job.  All in all I am very happy with where they are.

Daisy will deliver in the next set of ewes. I am taking bets on how many lambs she is carrying.  She still has two weeks to go...already she is wider than she is tall.

I am sad that Piglet will have to be culled because she is a lovely mom to her little black ewe lamb.

I actually picked up my camera this weekend and shot a bunch of pictures.  Only processed the ones I needed for Beth's 52 Week submission. Here are a couple from that set.  

Beth shows patience for the first time in her life with the lambs. 

The ewes seem to trust her to not hurt their lambs, yet still move off of her when required. 

Fred is growing well and has become people averse.  He wants NOTHING to do with humans now.  Good lamb, fully bonded with his new mom and adopted siblings. 

Fred with his family.  You can see why we call this ewe 'baldy' she rubbed her fleece off on the fence.  She is now named "Sadie".  She earned her name by adopting Fred and nursing 2 other lambs when they need it.  She is feeding 5 lambs, thus she gets double rations of alfalfa and her very own bucket of grain.  All of the lambs are gaining weight, healthy and stick to her like glue. 

A couple cute ewe lambs munching on leaves.  

Adorable little lamb raspberry, too cute for words.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick Update & More Lamb Races

I am so tired I am not sure if I should scratch my watch or wind my butt.

Last night was traumatic.  We had to pull a massive lamb from a ewe with some type of stricture in the birth canal.  The ewe had been in labor for 36 hours and was exhausted.  The lambs were in distress, we were lucky to be there to help.  One leg was turned back.  I had to reach in and straighten it. It took both John and I pulling along with Monique on speaker phone trying to help out.  A combination of things finally worked, unfortunately the first ewe lamb died.  It's twin survived after a rough start.

Both the ewe and lamb are doing better this evening and it looks like both will make it.

The ewe lamb is a gorgeous black.  Mom is a Columbia Rambouillet.  The ram was a AI coopworth. It is my hope that this combination will make a good fleece for felting.   Unfortunately this ewe will have to be culled due to an abdominal hernia and the stricture in the birth canal. Unless I decide to keep her for working dogs.  I have not decided yet.  She is Maimie's twin.

This afternoon after we returned from lunch we arrived to find this...

Ruth is in the front with her twin lambs.  One ewe, one ram lamb.  The ewe behind by the big rock also had her lambs, another ewe & ram lamb.  The ewe in the back is the Border Leicester/coopworth ewe we almost lost to pregnancy toxemia last month. 

Both sets are doing fantastic.  Four large, healthy, vigorous lambs with excellent mothers.

Our stats so far:

14 ewes delivered, 8 more to go
16 ewe lambs
10 ram lambs
2 deaths at birth (1 ewe, 1 ram)
1 still born (dog attack)
2 sets of triplets
11 sets of twins
1 single
26 lambs to date

Now for more lamb races!  Just quick videos I shot with my iPhone.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lambs in the Snow

It figures the day the weather takes a turn for the worse the ewes have a spree lambing. 

The morning started on a sad note.  One of our Border Leicester ewes delivered twins, in the wet snow with a bitter wind howling across the plateau.  In the few hours between our pasture checks she delivered without any notice or sign she was near to delivery,  not due for 14 more days.  She had twins, one ewe lamb and one ram lamb.  The ram lamb died shortly after birth.  We found him huddled beneath her in the snow, cold and stiff. 

Later after we got her into a jug, we made an attempt to graft Fred onto her, but she was too smart and didn't buy it.  Thankfully her little ewe lamb survived and seems to be doing well so far. 

Pictures later, I am too tired to get my phone and download them.  

I could not put coats on the lambs because the moms were soaking wet, thus drenching the lamb when they would try to nurse.  When I was drying the lambs and attempting to rewarm them I also tried to dry off the ewes, who were soaked to the skin.  Two of the ewe lambs I had to put under the heater in the car again, which works like a charm.  Oral dextrose + Car Heater at 90 works like a charm. 

We also found that one of our Romney ewes delivered twins in the snow.  They were doing better than the other set.  When I was drying off the lambs I kept finding blood.  Thinking it came from the birth I did not think much of it.  I put the ewe lamb down and started drying off the ram lamb I noticed blood again.  Uhtoh...she was bleeding profusely from the tail.  I looked at it and noticed the end was gone and there were gnaw marks all the way up to the base.  Thinking I should maybe band it I called Monique and interrupted her at work in surgery.  She told me to put a pressure bandage on it to get the bleeding stopped, because if we banded it right now the lack of vaso-constriction might backfire.  Monique stopped by this evening to check on them and she banded the lambs tail after the bleeding stopped. 

Mom accidentally chewed her tail while eating the afterbirth.  Poor baby.  Thankfully it was cold, or she could have lost significantly more blood. 

Our day was just starting.  After doing our normal chores, feeding Fred, etc we saw another Romney was in labor.  By now there was 6 inches of snow on the ground, the wind was punishing, snow coming down so hard I could barely see.

Of all days, I did not wear long underwear.  Figures.  

The ewe chose to lay down under one of the most exposed trees.  I was not able to get her back up. I sat down with her and observed.  She was struggling.  After a quick exam I could tell there was no way she was going to be able to push this massive lamb out on her own, so I pulled it.  I felt like I was pulling a calf.  I ended up bracing my foot on her butt to get leverage in the slick snow and pulled with each contraction, slightly rotating the head in the correct direction.   With a POP the lamb came through the pelvis.  A massive single ram lamb. 

I got her up and over to a jug where I checked her for another lamb.  Just the one.  While she cleaned him I sat in the corner and tried to warm up a bit.  I was soaked to the skin.  I looked up while taking pictures and saw this. 

See the eye ball? That is one of the Border Leicester ewes watching.  The black thing above it is Jim peering through the gap in the boards. 

Jim is in Heaven.  He loves the lambs. 

I hate the freaking snow.  HATE IT! 

Dear Mother Nature,

Enough already.  Please make winter stop. 

Thank you,