Raven’s Morning Boy

Finally!  Raven's ram arrives to a sunny morning
Finally! Raven's ram arrives to a sunny morning

With only two more ewes to go we have doggedly continued the lamb watch… each night I try to keep myself up past 11 p.m. so that I can go out and make sure no one is in labor. Last night I waited until one of the hard rain showers had passed and headed up to the greenhouse to check. Everyone but Zorro the llama was inside under cover (Zorro doesn’t like being where he can’t see what’s going on, being a good guard animal). What a coup! I very sneakily pulled a green panel across the opening and locked them all in for the night. But before I left the paddock, I thought I should make sure that none of the lambs had gotten locked out and began to make a pass up on the hill with the flashlight, hoping that I would be able to pick out any stray black lambs. What I picked out wasn’t a lamb, it was Raven! She was on the other side of the upper feeder, just standing there looking uncomfortable. Nothing really new, but since everyone else was inside I wanted to make sure that she joined them. A handful of grain and a halter in my pocket did the trick and she went in with the group. I stayed for awhile and watched, but all was calm and Raven didn’t look like anything was going on. Sigh! I went off thankfully to bed and my husband went out to check around 3:30 or 4 a.m. and came right back in… nothing going on.

Being school vacation, I have been getting out to chores a little later in the morning than usual, and I didn’t really get a move-on too quickly this morning. I’m not used to these late hours! Went out about 8:15 and the girls were still locked in and at a glance I didn’t see anything going on, so I did my usual routine, which means giving the big boy group their hay first, or Jingle the donkey goes nuts and hee-haws so loud it could burst an eardrum. I walked into the back of the ewe’s greenhouse to put some hay out for the goat moms and across the expanse I saw a ewe licking off a little wet head. Yay! A group of older lambs were very intent on the new little one, standing around Raven and her baby in a semi-circle… wish I could have gotten a picture of that! I took a closer look to make sure everything seemed to be going well and it was. I think I was giving the boys their hay when she had her lamb and I missed it! She’s never liked an audience of humans, and she made sure my back was turned :*) I had to run up to the house to call our friend Chloe, as Raven is her sheep. What a thrilling morning. While Chloe guarded Raven and her rammie boy, Kali and I undid the green panel and let the stampede of hungry ewes out into the paddock. Phew! I didn’t want the new baby to get trampled. We jugged them and our boy got almost right down to business with his breakfast. All in all, a very wonderful morning!

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Playtime @ the Rock

Lambs at play
Lambs have a break from play

So it finally stopped raining and it’s playtime! The big rock is again the center of activity in our winter paddock. The five oldest lambs are taking a break from their run-and-chase-game to find out what I am doing… their mothers are busy at the feeder, and the youngest two lambs are hanging in the greenhouse. They will get with the program soon!

Zach the Ram Lives On!

I finally think that we will have a few days’ break from lambing now. After last Sunday’s early morning twins we had an early flurry… seven lambs so far. 4 rams and 3 ewes.

My happiest moment came early on Tuesday morning when I arrived in the greenhouse at 5 a.m. to do chores and found that our first time mom, Lupine (a white Border Leicester X Coopworth cross) was lying with an enormous, black, wet and slimy ewe lamb behind her. She looked all done in, and hadn’t gotten up yet. I think I just missed the delivery, which was probably a good thing since I think it must have been a doozy. The ewe lamb had bloodshot eyes, which means that she was really tightly squeezed for a long time on her way out. For a 15 pound lamb with tall goofy legs, she got up and going remarkably well. Once I realized that she was going to be o.k., we tried to get her nursing. Jugged and snuggling with her mama, I did all my other chores and got back to find that she still wasn’t nursing yet. It was already an hour and a half after her birth and I was beginning to get anxious… about ready to tube her when we got her onto the teat and full. It’s always a very anxious time for me, since I do have to go off to work and do not like to leave before I know everything is proceeding normally.

I was worried enough about her that when I went off to work I asked our friend Pam from Hatchtown Farm to look in on Lupine and her girl.

Rosie with her milky mouth
Rosie with her milky mouth

She’s a very special ewe: her father is a black Border Leicester ram named Zach that I no longer have (story for another day) and I was afraid that none of the girls he bred would actually have lambs from him. (They were all re-bred by the Coopworth ram). But Lupine came through, with a ewe lamb at that! Phew! We have named her Rosie. And she is gorgeous :* )