shepherding, spinning, knitting, cooking and life on the farm
Monday, April 2, 2012
Here we go.....
(the boys-just a few minutes old)
Ah well, we've finally begun. Apparently Gabby had not read the manual where it states "No Middle of the Night Births" because I woke up around 2:30 am Sunday morning with the feeling that I should check the lamb-cam. Sure enough, back in the corner I could barely see a ewe turning around and around, but basically staying in one spot. Which might or might not have meant anything, but the giveaway was that all the rest of the ewes were standing on the other side of the pen, staring at her. Usually when one is in labor, the rest step away and give her some space. By the time I got dressed and walked to the barn, Gabby had moved herself right in front of the lamb-cam and the rest of the ewes had gone to the side of the pen where she had been earlier.
(the boys are 18 hours old in the video)
I don't like to intervene, unless it's looking like things aren't progressing normally, so I went about preparing a mothering-up pen. Most of the time, I leave putting bedding down and filling hay feeders, hanging heat lamps, if needed, to the last minute so that I am busy, but close at hand. I don't believe Gabby ever did lay down, but instead pushed out first one big boy and then another, while standing up. She's a very good mother and started right in cleaning them up. These two boys may get the award for being the liveliest newborns I have ever seen. The first was up on his feet very quickly and within just a few minutes, was hopping around, with the second one right behind. All in all, it was a picture perfect delivery. I managed to get back in bed around 5:00 am and slept until around 9:30 am, so I got off pretty easy with that one.
(the girl and her suspicious mother)
I had two more ewes marked on the calendar that could be due today and just a few hours ago one of them delivered a strapping big girl. I did help pull this one out because the ewe had been pushing for so long, I was worried that the lamb would be stressed. In fact, when I got her out, she was covered with meconium (the yellowish stain you see in the picture), which is thought to be a sign of distress during delivery. Not to worry, she's up and aggressively nursing. I left them in the big pen for several hours because I was hoping some of you might get to see the lamb taking her first steps, but now they are also in a mothering-up pen for the next few days. The first few days are important for bonding and time away from the main flock will allow the lambs to get strong enough and savvy enough to stick close to mom for a while. One funny thing about this ewe is that she's very vocal. I had made a note on last years lambing records that she was a loud mouth (but a good mother) and she's living up to her reputation right now! Be glad the lamb-cam does not have audio!