Saturday, March 3, 2012

Newest lambs are here.

I came home from work feeling pretty beat - a subject for another post.  I decided the world could do without me for awhile, so I went up to take a short nap.  My husband came up from feeding and told me that Audrey hadn't come in with the other sheep - and that he found her in the pasture with twins - looked like one white and one black (kind of normal distribution around here).  

Well, that got me up off my lazy bones; I called to the young one to help out and we put on our boots and jackets and headed out into the rain.  Sometimes finding a sheep in the pasture isn't so easy, but thankfully she was right on the edge of a patch of trees, clearly visible.  

Only thing was, as I got closer, I could see two black lambs and I wondered how my husband had gotten it so wrong - until I saw the little brown and white baby tucked into a little hollow at a tree root.  Audrey had triplets!  I guess she felt like she had to make up for only having a single baby last August.  No wonder the poor girl was so uncomfortable these last few days - rocking from foot to foot and sighing.  No wonder I couldn't figure out what was going on - I could feel one lamb, must have been the brown and white one and the other side just felt off. 

The little black lambs are fairly small, one ewe and one ram, while the brown and white ewe lamb is more of a normal size.  I feel so fortunate that it is Audrey who had the triplets - she is the best ewe mother I have seen, in my limited experience.  She is able to count, for one - she knows she has three and she checks them constantly.  She has lots of milk, too. 

It was a fairly back breaking chore to get her in from the way back of the pasture - you know how if you lift a lamb above a ewe's head and she can't see it - even if the lamb is bawling its head off?  Yeah, my husband didn't believe it - he said, "Oh just carry them normally, she'll follow."  Yeah, right.  If I straightened up for even a few steps, Audrey started heading back to where she thought she left them at high speed.  Eventually, though, we got them all tucked in - we kicked Elvis out of his ram stall and threw him in with the others in the general milling area and let Audrey and family take up residence.  Buddy and as yet unnamed sister were mighty curious about the new lambs, but they had to satisfy their curiosity through the wire fence. 

 The little lamb with the barest spot of white is a ewe.  She's tiny, but she's pretty insistent about getting her fair share - she'll grow.  The little brown and white one is curious and brave. 
You can see the little bit of flooding that is happening due to our storm last night.  It was a lot worse before my husband used the tractor and a good deal of shovel work to try to carry the water off - just in time!  I got up a few times last night to make sure it wasn't flooding more.  To keep things drier, we need to keep the flooring pure cinder, which means having to use a rake to clean up every day.  Straw or shavings would just hold the damp and mold.  I wish the lambs could have a softer surface, but they seem pretty happy to be with mom for now. We've tried a lot of different flooring ideas over the years with the horses - shavings, straw, sand, and cinder.  Some people use pea gravel here and swear by it.  Dealing with 230+ inches of rain is no joke when you have livestock.  Even with gutters and overhangs, when it rains as constantly as it has in the last few weeks, and as hard as it did last night, there is only so many places for the water to go.  My husband has really improved the area for the animals in the last year.  We used to have half the horse stall and all of the sheep housing 6 inches deep in water when we had this kind of weather. 

We've had so much rain in the last month and last night it was thunder storms on top of the pounding rain.  It's not an ideal climate for either sheep or horses, but this hybrid hair breed (Katahdin/Barbados) are pretty hardy.  In the past year and a half that we've owned these sheep, through 6 lambings, we haven't had to help with even one.  It was the Dorper ewe that had the trouble.  I really liked the Dopers, but they didn't thrive like these hybrids. 

Time to end the marathon post.  I still have one ewe lamb unnamed from December - so now I need help with these three, too.  Any suggestions? 


Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Aren't animals amazing! What a sight to see triplets, and they are so darn cute! Enjoy!


NancyDe said...

Welcome, Mary. They are cute. Today, they tried to chase the chickens on their tottery little legs. The little tiny ewe lamb is just the smallest sheep I have ever seen.

Stacy Davis said...

Congrats!! I am always amazed at the hardiness of some of these sheep breeds. I own Icelandics, and where they probably wouldn't thrive in Hawaii, in Vermont they do. The babies are born bouncing and they don't seem to enjoy finding ways to die like other sheep breeds seem to like to do. It's nice when we can find a breed that works in the environment we live.

Chai Chai said...

Love the pictures. This is the first I have ever heard about your "carrying a lamb" experience. That is very odd.

How does one say "Rain" in Hawaiian?

NancyDe said...

@Stacy, yes, I am pretty happy with this breed, although we did want dairy sheep at some point. This breed seems to be a mix of Katahdin (originally from New England), maybe St. Croix, and Barbados. They have easy births, good hooves, and seem parasite resistant (great for subtropical climate!)

@Chai Chai, the Hawaiian word for rain is "ua" ("oo - ah" more or less). I saw somewhere these slings so you could carry the lambs at nose height to a ewe. I sure wanted one the other day!

Chai Chai said...

Ua might be an interesting name for a girl, easy to say and enunciate.

NancyDe said...

Chai Chai - maybe "Ka ua" or "Ualani" I did have two lambs last year named Uila and Hekili - lightning and thunder, so kind of similar.