While making my rounds at feeding time I usually check on udders and backsides as I go around. I love seeing how the sheep and goat udders begin to just slightly develop, and watching those gives us a pretty good idea of how close we are to lambing or kidding. And backsides, because we are paranoid about vaginal prolapses. (Only dealt with one a few years ago and I am hoping that it will not be a repeat experience!).
So over the weekend as I was dutifully going around checking on udders, I realized that Zelda, our largest ewe and also our last due, has more than two deflated balloons hanging there. She has a nicely rounding little bag going! They are all extremely hairy now, right down to their udders, but there is definite change there. Zelda is a wonderful, very focused doe. And she is definitely working on some babies. The time approaches! Yay!
Yesterday was the big day. I got home in plenty of time to get things set up in the greenhouse. Of course, it had to be that the weather decided to get more than seasonal, so the temperatures were in the teens and the wind was pretty brisk. John and I decided that we should go ahead and continue with our plans to put the milking stand in the hay greenhouse, which is the most protected from the wind, and also just the warmest.
I got the girls penned in the milking greenhouse, and they were bawling their heads off and flagging their tails like crazy. I think the vet hit the timing with their heat just on the money! He has a nifty van that has a nice workspace in the back where they inspect the sperm under the microscope before using the straw on the does. It’s late in the season, and we don’t know how many of the girls will get settled, but hopefully all of them will. It was a great experience watching them work, and it was much more quickly accomplished than I thought it would be. We had to hustle to keep the girls moving in and out of the pen.
In the end we were very impressed with how low-key and laid back Whit the vet and his team are. They did a great job and were fun to work with. We will decide if we want to do ultrasounds in 30 days to see if we really have some pregnancies. I don’t know if it will do any good as we are getting to the end of the breeding season and it’s late already for re-breeding. But we shall see. It’s just about time to begin drying off the does and hunkering down for the rest of the winter. I will miss my milking time with the girls!