All’s Well That Ends Well – now with details!

Spice lambed around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, officially ending our 2018 lambing season.  Her due date had been marked down as Friday, but +/- 2 days is completely normal.  I had noticed she was acting a little differently Saturday afternoon, and towards evening felt confident that lambs were on the way, but there was still no active labor going on.  A check around 8:30 p.m. revealed the same, as well as right before bed.  I set the alarm for 12:30, dragged myself out of bed, and still… the same.  Because she wasn’t in active labor, I didn’t necessarily think there was an actual problem, and I really hoped I wouldn’t have to bother the on-call vet at this time of night, just to have the situation resolve itself in record time (as had been the case with both Tinkerbell and Alice).  I set the alarm again for 3:00 a.m., knowing that if nothing had changed, I would need to make that call.  Sleep did not come easily in the interim – thank goodness these were the last lambs of the season!

At 3:00 a.m., I went out to the barn, full of anxiety, but that was quickly relieved when I saw Spice with a little black lamb!  I’m still not sure where the other one had been hiding, because as I readied the jug for them, I realized there were two!  Spice has beautiful twin ewe lambs, and three days later we are still trying to decide which spice or herb we will name them after!  (Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cilantro, Cardamom, Coriander, Clove, Cajun, Cumin…???)

So here’s the official stats and rundown of the 2018 lambing season:

10 ewes, 16 live and healthy lambs (19 total): 9 ewe lambs, 7 ram lambs born over the course of 2 weeks and 5 days.  2 singles, 7 sets of twins, 1 set of triplets.  12 Romney lambs, 11 live: 7 ewe lambs, 5 ram lambs, 3 recessive, 3 likely extension dominant, 6 white color-carriers.  7 Romeldale lambs, 5 live: 2 ewe lambs, 5 ram lambs, 2 moorit, 5 black-based moorit-carriers.  Whew!

As they say in all the Little House books, “All’s well that ends well!”  We’ve had some bumps, some tears, some worry, but lots of joy and an exciting and satisfying lambing season – the best we’ve had yet!  And lots to look forward to!  We will most certainly have some lambs for sale this year – keep an eye out for updates – and shearing is RIGHT around the corner (early April) – so keep an eye out for those luscious fleeces as well!

And it all breaks loose again.

Spice and Carla were not due until Friday, but starting Tuesday night, they had luxury accommodations in the back half of our newly mucked-out, freshly bedded barn. Sure enough, if you think it may be safe to go run some errands, there’ll be a Romeldale there to prove you wrong. I decided to do a quick barn check before heading out, and discovered Carla standing over a slippery-looking, wobbly-on-her-legs ewe lamb. We got them into the jug, and not much later, she delivered a ram lamb. Apparently ewes are never done giving birth around here until they’ve gone one better than what you expect. Carla had triplets, but sadly, the last baby was tiny and not moving. The surviving lambs are strong and healthy though, up and nursing right away.

The rest of our lambs enjoyed a sunny day playing in the barnyard and closest paddock. Upon seeing some panting though, we got out the thermometer and discovered several had fevers. They’ve all taken their medicine and got their sweaters on, and we’re expecting full and quick recoveries, as it appears we caught it early on.

Break over, back to it! But only one mama to go!

The Blur of Joy and Sorrow

This past week has been a blur. Between Tuesday and Thursday mornings, we had 5 ewes give birth, all to twins. We had some exciting surprises and a little tragedy thrown in as well.

As we reported earlier, Cupcake had twin ewe lambs, one white and one recessive. The following day, Tinkerbell gave birth to twin ram lambs, one white and one recessive! We never suspected recessive color in either ewe’s background. Sadly, one twin was tiny and we were unable to save him. The surviving lamb is recessive colored with the sweetest shaggy face. We’ve named him Caspian.100_7114

While attempts were being made to save the tiny twin, Carmel ambled into the barn and quickly gave birth to a light moorit daughter and a darker moorit son. Again, there was a major size difference between the two, and we moved quickly to try to save the already chilled ram lamb. He spent the better part of 2 days in the house, being kept warm and fed – we figured we would keep him around for a fiber wether (even named him Chesterton) but in the end, we lost him too.  We’re still searching for the right name for Carmel’s daughter – if you have a good one (must start with “C”) please let us know!

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Thursday evening, Alice had a prolonged labor. I called the vet to determine if a call-out was in order, but by the time I got back out to the barn, she had delivered a nice solid white ram lamb that was immediately dubbed Cheshire. Once he was nice and dry, on his feet and nursing, we left them to bond. When we checked on everyone before bed, lo and behold, Alice had TWO little lambs with her – one of which was distinctly damper than the other! I actually did a double-take, wondering if someone else had given birth, but the only 2 ewes still pregnant at this point weren’t due for another week – not to mention nowhere nearby!  Alice’s ewe lamb is also stumping us, name-wise.  Any ideas?

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The last two ewes (Carla, a Romeldale, and Spice, the matriarch Romney of our flock) will hopefully give us a bit of a reprieve before delivering their little bundles of joy.  Because, boy, do we need a breather!

Cupcake Defies All Expectations

This is Cupcake’s last year with us. She is now 4 years old and had never given us a lamb. She’s also a “special needs” sort of gal. So despite her incredibly lovely fleece, we have a new home lined up for her with a fiber friend. But this year ended up being very different. It may be simply because we put the rams in a month earlier than we have in the past, but this year, Cupcake’s growing udder told us that she had finally bred. We’ve been waiting for her to lamb with much anticipation, praying for just one little ewe lamb as a replacement.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed to check on everyone at 5:30 a.m., looking forward to just taking a quick peek and crawling right back under my warm covers again. But that was not to be! I arrived to find Cupcake in what I thought were the early stages of labor. I made sure everyone had enough hay and water, and that the babies were all warm and comfortable, and figured I would check back in a while to see how she was progressing. But the next thing I knew, two little hooves had appeared, and not much later a little nose joined them! Imagine my delight when Cupcake delivered a little black ewe lamb! And did I mention the lamb was BLACK?! None of our current rams are genetically extension dominant, and I didn’t believe Cupcake’s flock of origin had any recessive color, so this was quite a surprise! But it gets even better – because while I was busy being delighted with her little black lamb, Cupcake was quickly delivering a little WHITE lamb, another little ewe!

Our first lamb of the year has arrived!

This evening, Mary AGAIN won the first baby race (3rd year running!) with an 11 lb. white ewe lamb. Mary’s “official” due date was actually this past Sunday, so we’ve had an anxious two days of watching and waiting. McKenzie was thought to be due Sunday as well, and Irene’s due date was today, so it’s not time to sit back and relax. While we wait, we’re celebrating with pizza and some Shawn the Sheep!