We had a wonderful day over at Hatchtown Farm’s shearing yesterday. It was a disappointing day since the sun never did come out and it was a bit misty, but the barn was dry and full of great people visiting and helping out! Emily the shearer put in a long day and Pam fed us a great meal :* ) And the fleeces are totally gorgeous!
I went home planning to get a really full night’s sleep, but Norma had other plans… it’s always the way! She looked quite uncomfortable at 10 o’clock
when I checked on her, and John came in after the 1:30 check to tell me that she “had a bag out!” The first signs that labor has progressed to the point of imminent arrivals, a sac of water makes an appearance and kind of hangs there on a ropey cord. Our friend Kali has been excited about the lambing so she joined us in the peanut gallery as well. We began the vigil and Norma did her pacing and her pushing for the better part of an hour.
It’s always very exciting to see two little hooves emerge with a black nose on top, and ordinarily things move along fairly smoothly at this point. Norma worked, and worked, and got nowhere. I really don’t like interfering with this process, but she lay down and appeared to give up so I gave a little inspection and found that both feet were there, but the head was so huge it just wouldn’t go any farther. I made sure the feet were out there and just got the head a little bit forward and she stood up and took care of the rest. It’s always startling to see the head emerging with a tongue lolling out the side, but he did, and arrived with a 13.5 lb. thunk at 2:55!
Norma went to work again, cleaning him off and pawing him to get up and belly up to the milk bar. He took some time getting onto those 4 long legs, but once he realized what was waiting for him he really got moving.
Norma is a great mother and she really takes time with her lambs. I was convinced that this ram was a single; she was expelling what looked like the beginning of the afterbirth and we all sighed and admired the beautiful silver ram, wished there were twins in the offing (with a ewe included!), dipped his navel in the iodine and prepared to get back to bed. But Norma was becoming frantic with her baby, pushing him to nurse more and more… and then we realized she was having more contractions and she wasn’t delivering the placenta: it was another lamb!
An hour after the ram lamb arrived, she had an 11.5 lb. black ewe lamb. She popped out with a good wail and was up very quickly. Yay Norma! Way to go :* )
We finally got a few hours of sleep, and when I got back out to do chores this morning, this is what I got to enjoy: Norma cuddled up with her babes… both with milky mouths!