Sunday, March 22, 2015

Waiting on the.... Oh, They're Here!

Saturday was day 145 since putting the rams in with the ewes.  Gestation in sheep varies by a few days among breeds with 145 to 148 days being the accepted 'normal' range.  Everyone stayed quiet that day - yesterday - so I was able to get to my spinning guild meeting.  Thanks, sheepies!  The 2:30 AM check showed no activity, ditto the 5:30 check, but by 7:30 we had a nice pair of twins already born, mostly cleaned up and toddling around.

Mom is a Cotswold ewe named Jolly and the lambs are both rams.  Each weighs 9.5 lbs and are quite active and vocal.  The one on the right was quick to nurse but the other guy was a little slower.  He'd push hard on the udder and baa in a frustrated way but wouldn't. take. the. teat.  As it was only 15 degrees out this morning I figured that was too cold to fiddle around so I striped some colostrum from the ewe and fed him with a bottle.  Getting the stiff plastic teat into his mouth was no problem and once there he would suck - which proved he was capable - so he had a good meal.  He still didn't want to nurse an hour later so I gave him a bit of an enema with lots of "return" and five minutes later I had him latched onto a teat and sucking.  Getting a 'full' lamb to evacuate the bowel seems to trigger the "oh, I'm hungry" response.  I suppose that walking around might eventually stimulate him to 'go' but there was nothing good to be gained by waiting so I helped the issue along.

Mom is being very steady and diligent.  Sooo nice to work with animals that are calm and not concerned about the humans.

One of the two has especially fuzzy cheeks and looks chipmunk-esque.

The other ewes don't show immediate signs of lambing but then again one could decide to start anytime.  There are some pretty wide loads here.

Nibbles has a fun 'do going on - fringey ear wool.

"Good grief, I'm creating the miracle of life here and you think my ear wool is cool?!"

Lovey has cool hair going on.  She's still a ways off for lambing.

Gilly, on the left, appears to have not caught this year.  Since she is 9 this year I likely won't attempt to breed her again.  She'll stay on as a fiber ewe - she has a lovely fleece.

She's always had a strong chin and it makes me think of Chester the Cheetah from the Cheetos commercials.

Besides being barren this year she's showing some age in her eyes - both eyes have a bright white cataract showing in the center of the pupil. It doesn't seem to bother her, or else she's just so good at getting around that we don't see a deficit.

Isabelle is 7 this year.  She's the only ewe lamb I got from doing AI with a British ram.  

She still looks like she did as a lamb, at least to my eyes, but then I'm better with animal faces than people faces.

This ewe is carrying her lamb load lower - a sign that she's getting closer to The Day.

Luellen is still fairly symmetrical. 

Then there is the rest of the flock which I didn't breed.  We only exposed 35 ewes this year - down from my all time high of 79 (when I must have been temporarily out of my mind) - and of the 35 it looks like there will only be 29 or 30 who are actually carrying lambs.  It's OK - we're decreasing the lamb crop by design so I have more time to work. on. wool.  Which was the whole point of my having sheep in the first place!

"Didja hear that?  No multitasking - just grow da wool real good!  Woohoo!"

Large Marge - "Suits me.  I loved my babies but I don't neeeed to have more."

Alexi -

"I neeeed somebody to turn up the heat around here!  Sheesh!"

Yeah, me too!


  1. I bet you'll be very busy for the next few weeks...

  2. You can see why sheep are so good at recognising faces; theirs are all so distinctive! Large Marge, you are adorable!

  3. I grew up with sheep but have never given one an enema! If I can ask - how's it done?

  4. I love Large Marge :-D. So excited to see some lambies!!!