Mother's Day began with warm and lively phone conversations with all three kids (shown here at Alyssa's wedding, already 3 years ago!).
The bonus was spending the afternoon in the sheep shed with Nara, who had shown signs of labor early in the day. I got lots of spindling done.
And I watched the other new mothers with their babies.
Even some of last year's lambs still hang out with their moms. This is Shiva, resting on his mom, Shyla.
And Onslo, Nara's ram lamb from last year, came in to check on his mom.
When at last Nara started actually pushing at 2:30, I knew we would have Mother's Day lambs (I thought there must be 2 in there...).
Nara has had lambs four times before this, so I didn't worry until an hour had gone by with no progress. Had to help her deliver; thankfully the lamb, though big (8lb 6oz), was in the right position.
At first sight, the wool was so long on this lamb I thought I saw a scrotum and sighed, "Another ram." But when I cut and iodined the umbilical cord, to my amazement I saw it was a GIRL! Yay, Nara had a ewe lamb for Mother's Day! Six lambs this year: 5 rams, one ewe. We have previously sold all of Nara's ewe offspring, so I am ecstatic to be keeping Oona.
Oona is a strong one; up in 20 minutes, nursing right away.
Many of us here at the farm are grateful for being mothers!
It has been a formidable twenty-four hours...
At five-days-old, it was time to bring Tucker and Twain down from the lambing shed to meet the rest of the flock. I try to hold my anxiety in check, but I always worry about sheep with horns greeting small lambs. However, comic curiosity instead of aggressiveness was the tone.
The sheep flock was mildly interested, but Freya was astonished and wanted a closer look.
Freya was encountering all sorts of surprises; I took a spindle out while I was supervising and she had to sniff it, just like the sheep do.
Tehya's lambs did fine in the sheep shed during the night. I expected to need to protect them this morning so they wouldn't get trampled as I let out the flock, but instead I was greeted by the familiar sound of a ewe nickering and a wee lambie cry.
Lindyhop, a first-time mom, had a ram lamb she was cleaning up that looked about 20-minutes old. I could tell she was about to have another. I waited patiently as Lindyhop pushed and pushed. The second lamb was born rump-first, but she did it on her own!
It's amazing how quickly they are up and nursing!
Lindyhop wasn't too sure about the move up to the lambing shed; Gene and I had to really coax her (read "force") her to get into the jug with her babies. Now she is settling in for a few days' bonding and rest with her ram lambs, Reggae and Disco--had to be dance names! ;->
I worried the first night that I may have been wrong to let Tehya take care of the lambs completely by herself. From my observations, experience and raw intuition I felt that my intervening by bottle-feeding might undermine her abilities to recover and do the mothering, so I made a decision to leave them alone together through the night. And walked up to the silent lambing shed Saturday morning with trepidation...
What a joyous relief to open the door and see this!
Today, day 3, they are sproinging about and curious about their limited world.