The last few days have been hectic. We have six new lambs, including one set of twins. There are fifteen new lambs in the barn. Well over half of our ewes have given birth, and the barn has become a very busy and a very noisy place!
In a much anticipated event, Gretchen, one of our two beautiful Icelandic sheep, has given birth to twins, a ewe lamb and a ram lamb. In the last month or so, we had become concerned because of her size. She was so huge that even walking had become an effort. It was obvious that, in the last few days, carrying her burden around was exhausting her. We would find her asleep with her head still resting on the hay she had been eating just moments before. So when she finally went into labor, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. It was no wonder she was exhausted. Her twins, Grace and Gustav weighed in at 9.8 pounds and 10 pounds respectively. Icelandic lambs are normally smaller at birth with an average weight of between 6 and 10 pounds, so they are definitely a healthy weight for twins. Hep, the father, is of course pure Black Welsh Mountain while Gretchen is Icelandic, so the lambs are a cross of both breeds. The lambs have picked up the dominant black color from the father, but their longer faces and ears are very Icelandic looking. Their coats have soft poodle like curls, much like pure Icelandic lambs at birth, so we wonder whether their wool is going to take on that beautiful, long dual coat of the pure Icelandic breed. Throughout this lambing season, we have been impressed by the natural mothering instincts of the Black Welsh Mountain sheep; however, Gretchen seems to have surpassed them all. She was so relaxed, in fact, that while she was giving birth to her second twin, she was still lovingly cleaning up the first one. She seemed to be taking everything in stride. No rush, no panic, just doing what she was supposed to be doing. This morning, her little twins were already trying to balance on top of her while she was lying down, happily jumping around and then sliding off her back. One was still precariously balancing on her back when she got up. Needless to say, the lamb tumbled quickly to the floor. No lack of vitality or energy from that pair!