Heading into the barn on Friday Morning, all seemed peaceful. I knew the routine. Check the four we anticipate will give birth in the next few days. Nothing happening. Next, the lambing jugs. The new lambs were bouncing around in their pens annoying their mothers who were still groggy at that early morning hour. No problems there. Next the big barn. At first all seemed fine until I focused on a lone ewe in the corner. No other sheep were anywhere near her. That alone was enough to arouse my suspicions. She turned around and sure enough there was a placenta ready to drop. Now I was awake! Just behind her was a tiny little black lamb already standing and searching for food. After my initial shock and panic, I realized that there was no need for concern. The ewe’s maternal instincts had kicked in, and she had everything under control. We were lucky. Sometimes there is not such a positive outcome. All we had to do was clean up the placenta and separate them from the rest of the flock before the curious onlookers became an unruly mob.
Since Friday, we have had just one other birth. It was one of our first time mothers. This time, we were all on hand for the event. Labor progressed fairly normally, but as soon as the lamb was born, we stood still in our tracks. This was one huge lamb, bigger it seemed than our twins who are now a week old, bigger even than Francois at birth, and he was certainly a healthy weight. It turns out our new ram lamb weighed in at 10 pounds, so he is indeed a whopper! We have named him Nanook, a name that had already been chosen before he was born. Strangely enough, Nanook is a name that comes from the Inuit language and means polar bear. But it does not just mean any polar bear, it means the master of all polar bears! How appropriate. Francois, who now seems to have become the ruler of the lambs, may have found himself some stiff competition.
Speaking of Francois, he is now enjoying time with Hep, the ram, who is in fact his father. Of course, neither of them realize this, which makes it even funnier to watch. Francois was actually walking up and down on Hep’s back while Hep was resting and chewing, completely oblivious to the little annoyance on his back, or so it seemed. The next minute Francois had found that his father’s horns were a perfect scratching post, and so he started contentedly scratching himself right there on Hep’s back. The curious thing is that Hep did not attempt to move, at least not at first. It wasn’t until Francois became bored with this new game and jumped off, that Hep finally got up and lumbered away.
A few more deliveries, and we will be half way there. Most will be in the next few weeks, so we still have busy times ahead.