And so it goes… I was on my way out to feed our little bottle boys on Monday evening and I found that Meadow had had her lambs (I had her penned, just in case). Triplets! So we have two more white rams, and an absolutely gorgeous black ewe. I am really psyched to have a Meadow ewe lamb. (Last year’s Meadow ewe got crushed in a ewe stampede). As Meadow is getting older, this may be her last year. So I am very excited! And this ewe definitely has her father’s fleece. Large crimp and very dark! Wow! Meadow is a good mama and makes sure that her babies are all getting their share of her milk, but I will have to keep my eye on them to make sure.
Today my husband called me at work to tell me that when he was going out to feed Rosie’s bottle lambs, he found our yearling doe, Bonbel, with two little white does. They are beautiful! She doesn’t have much of an udder on her either, so I am going to decide tonight whether or not to pull the babies in and just bottle feed them. It’s nice to have bottle fed milkers as they are easier to handle in the future, but I love to let their mom mother them up as well. Oh well, we shall see what happens. If the two girls lose body temperature, I will haul them in. And I would love to know what the deal is with the goat colors: we get gorgeous bucks of all different patterns and colors, and all the does end up being white!
We had another hopping night early Friday morning. Lupine took her time to deliver two large and beautiful white ewe lambs, floppy ears and all. It was really late by the time we got to bed, but we knew the girls now outnumbered the boys! Very exciting. So we had 18 lambs on the ground (with the ewes winning the day) and a buckling and doeling of SnowPea’s.
But, Friday really wasn’t our day. John had to call me at work to tell me that the doeling got caught in a feeder and strangled, and later on, Meadow’s ewe lamb was crushed to death when the ewes got panicked by a dog harassing them. Not a good end to the day yesterday. All I can hope for is that luck doesn’t really run in 3s and this is it for the year.
The ewes had the advantage for a brief moment on Friday, but now we are back to neck-in-neck. I don’t really care about the numbers, just hate hate hate losing little ones this way.
Our first early morning lambing went off without a hitch. Meadow had a beautiful black ewe and black ram a little after 2 a.m. Our son very kindly checks on the ewes and does before he goes to bed (which is way later than we do!) so we have the ability to get a little bit of sleep if there looks like nothing is going on. He knocked early this morning to tell us that Meadow was looking like a possible, having taken up residence in the deserted greenhouse in one of the “favorite” lambing corners. We gave her a little bit of alone time, and when John got out there he called to say that number 2 was being dried off (the picture above) and number 1 was up and about and mostly dry. They are the first lambs of the year that were sired by a ram lamb of ours from last year: Hamish the blue Coopworth. Both the lambs have the beautiful markings on their eartips – lighter around the edges – and the white teardrops that indicate the “blue” gene. And the lighter grey “saddle” around their middles. Sheep color genetics are quite the mystery to me, but our friends at Hatchtown Farm have spoken about them in their blog. I really look for the “blue” in our Coopworths as I think the silver-blue-grey that comes out in their fleeces is the best thing ever. And as Pam of Hatchtown points out, dyeing the silver fleece or yarn yields such an amazing color palette. Much more subtlety and depth than on a white fiber.
So we have two more lambies in the greenhouse and still have our 50/50 split on the sexes. I have never seen it fall out this way! When I did chores this morning, Meadow’s babies were hopping around the pen while Meadow had a well-deserved rest.
I wonder what Raven, Lucy and HoneyBea have planned for us tonight! They were all due over the weekend…
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!