05 April 2007

The last of the lambs

We are finally seeing the last of the lambs!

Both Natalie and Brownie (the two Icelandic ewes) went into labour today. They were the last two ewes left to give birth, so we're in the home stretch of this lambing season!

The Boy came home from school to find most of the sheep escaped from the pen (we did some temporary fixes to the fence, but it's really quite temporary and not all that solid ... clearly). Anyway, he was working on getting them back where they belonged when he heard a distinctly unhappy sound from Brownie: there she was, in the sheep shelter, with a lamb partialy born. He could tell she and the lamb were both in trouble and he very wisely called for help: our 4H Leader and her son were here within half an hour. By the time I arrived, they'd still not been able to budge the lamb and had called for further help. The lady they called in used to be a full time shepherd, and was able, after a good deal of effort, to get the dead lamb out. There was a twin as well, backwards and stubbornly refusing to come out. It was finally worked loose about half an hour later, but sadly, it had also died (and it was a lovely black lamb, too). Poor Brownie was exhausted and sore from all that work ... and no lambs to show for it. We will give her some pennicillin and extra molasses for the next few days to help her recover.

While all this was going on, Natalie had started into labour in earnest. With all the comings and goings in the pasture, she was a bit distracted, so everyone headed their separate ways and we went in for dinner. Natalie had her first lamb shortly after that - a white ewe lamb with one black ear and curly fleece, christened Coca Cola (that one was Union Guy's choice). I left mama and baby to themselves and set up the pyre for the lost lambs. By the time I got back to check on Natalie again, she was working on delivering a second lamb. I helped pull that one as she had been working on it for quite some time: Clarence the ram lamb was born about an hour after Coca Cola. Clarence is another of Auntie Ausra's name suggestions - he's named after the angel in It's a Wonderful Life. Here's Jack and Natalie with Coca Cola: Jack was quite curious about the new arrival.
I've checked on Natalie and she still seems to be working on some contractions, so I'm not positive if there are more lambs to come ... but given how huge she was it wouldn't surprise me. I'll be out to check on her a few times tonight, I suspect.

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