Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Presenting Pauladeen's babies

As often as I have witnessed the birth of lambs, I find it a miracle every time. The way the ewe's instincts guide her through the birth process and the lamb's instincts to get up and look for nourishment immediately are amazing to me. Usually, my role is to just be on stand-by in case something goes amiss.
Pauladeen is my favorite ewe, as I have mentioned before. She is a special personality and because she was bottle fed, she still thinks I am her mother. About two weeks ago, Pauladeen began to prolapse. We were able to get everything back in place and sewed her up to prevent it happening again. That meant that when she actually went into labor, I would need to be here to cut the sutures so she could push the babies out. All day Sunday, she stood around, shifting her weight and gradually getting that sunken in look that happens when the lambs drop down into position for birth. I was afraid to leave her, so I sat up with her all night Sunday. Let me tell you, it was a very long night! I spent a lot of time promising Pauladeen she would not ever have to go through it again! Finally, around 4:30 am I woke up my husband to help. Long story, the end result being two huge lambs, 1 ewe lamb and 1 ram lamb, both black. Pauladeen seemed almost unconscious afterward, until she heard her lambs bleating. Then, amazingly, that mothering instinct kicked in and she got herself up and went to work cleaning the lambs and encouraging them to get up and nurse. She is being such a good mother, and after a few days of obviously not feeling like her old self, she seems to be just fine now.
So far, we have 6 lambs out of 4 ewes. Only one white lamb in the bunch. We used a black ram this year and a lot of the ewes are black factored, which means they carry a recessive gene for black. Since we have a handspinner's flock, we like having as many black lambs as possible.
We have 16 or 17 more ewes that are pregnant, so we are a long way from the end of lambing.

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