30 March 2008

Lambing Season

The new lambs are here!

The sun has warmed the pasture and most of the snow is gone, although the sheep are still eating hay as the new grass isn't up yet and we need to let it grow before they start nibbling on those fresh young shoots.

The other day, I noticed that most of the new lambs were basking in the sun together, so I captured the image: you can see almost everyone who has arrived so far this year in one picture! The big sheep at the top is Cutter, one of the first sheep born here last spring. She is a very dedicated mama who is rarely more than a few steps from her little guy: he's got a face only a mother could love, but she certainly does dote on him.

We have had a reasonably uneventful lambing season (knock wood ... we have two ewes still waiting for their delivery dates to arrive), with lambs arriving about once a week or so, and only a few minor interventions required. We warmed up a couple of chilled lambs and we did end up with one bottle lamb (his mama had twins but is quite sure only one of them is hers), but for the most part, the sheep did quite well on their own.

Our one big obstetrical adventure came a couple of nights ago: The Boy noticed that Natalie, one of our purebred Icelandics, was way off at the far end of the pasture. He went to check and saw that lambing had begun, but there was only a nose showing and no feet (lambs are normally born with their front hooves tucked under their chins, sort of like they are saying prayers). The Boy knew that this was likely to be a big problem so he came running, and The Reluctant Farmer and I spent the next hour and a half assisting with the delivery of two beautiful lambs. I am sure it was a painful experience for Natalie, but she bore it all with good grace and was absorbed in caring for both of her babies as soon as they were put in front of her. Both are up and active, despite their rough entry into the world: it's always rewarding when you work hard to save them and things go well.

The biggest news for me is that one of the twins, the ewe lamb, no less, is solid black! I have been wanting more colour in the flock (and as you can see from the first image, we did get a few with spots and speckles of brown or black on white), and spinning naturally coloured wool is really enjoyable.

Here is Despreaux:

Despreaux is named for a character in a book that The Reluctant Farmer and I listened to this past year ... I was saving the name for my favourite ewe lamb of the year, and here she is!


  1. Anonymous1:16 pm

    I love the colour. This litle guy (girl?)is a keeper

  2. Anonymous3:06 pm

    Um, just so you know the top one is really crumb (not cutter). My mom always gets them mixed up!


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