shepherding, spinning, knitting, cooking and life on the farm
Thursday, March 29, 2012
(Crabapple and Redbud)
Those of you checking out the lamb-cam will know, there is nothing happening here, except there are twelve really, really pregnant ewes who hardly do anything but lay around the barn. Every morning I go into their pen and open the gate for them to go out to graze on the lush green grass we already have growing. Every morning they just lie there looking at me like 'Are you joking? You want us to get up and walk?' Poor girls, they are ready to get on with the show, but the lambs are taking their time.
To be exact though, yesterday was the first possible day for Gabby to lamb and she will be the first one to go because when we brought the ram here, he was in a pen inside the barn for several days by himself. Then, because I felt sorry for him (and also to prevent him from trying a jail-break), I gave him Gabby for company. Though I hadn't yet put the marking harness on him, it's obvious he bred her right away. The first ewes that were marked, after he went into the flock, are due this weekend. Lambs, like human babies, come when they are ready. I usually have a pretty good idea that a birthing will be happening within a short time when I can see that the ewe has hollowed out in front of her hip bones (as opposed to looking rounded out). This means the lamb(s) are dropping down to get into birthing position. The best position is front feet forward, head down between them (picture a diver going into the water). Sometimes, things get turned around, especially when there are twins or triplets in there, and someone tries to come out backwards (not good) or head first and one or two legs back (not good, either). Those usually require intervention from me. Gloves on and hand inserted to try to sort out which leg belongs to which lamb and is that a back leg or a front leg? Many years ago, when I began keeping sheep, that was pretty scary, but like anything else, a little positive experience gives confidence. Of course, I'm planning on all the ewes getting all that sorted out beforehand and it would be even better if I can come into the barn and find lambs up, dry and nursing! That's my plan and I'm sticking to it!
(Heavenly smelling Viburnum)
Elsewhere on the farm, the bees are buzzing, trees and bushes are blooming and it seems like a wonderful day for lambs to be born. I'm thinking positive thoughts.