Friday, March 9, 2012

Finally, Annabelle

There is rarely a dull moment or an uneventful birth on a ranch, and we've had our share this season thus far. Thursday we'd been out to run some errands with Really Big Red, picking up a ton of stove pellets, a Jerry's run, etc. In the morning, I'd looked at Patty, the lone puffy ewe left, and figured her for that evening, since the sheep seem to prefer to lamb after dark, when it's cold/rainy/snowy/windy/pitch dark. When we got home in the early afternoon, I went out to the barn for the tractor to unload the pallet of pellets, and took a casual peek at the sheep down in the bottom of the maternity pasture. There was Patty, all by herself, walking, lying down, straining, repeat. I walked carefully down that way after shooing Ho Dog out of the pasture, and saw to my dismay a huge nose and pair of feet and no room for either at the exit. I carefully started working the entire flock up to the barn so I could corral Patty and pull that lamb, which I figured was probably not viable, altho I had no idea how long this had been going on. I wasn't having a lot of sucess, and was just about to go back and get Ho Dog, when lo and behold, here came Don with Ho (pun not really intended, but kinda cute anyways). I let Don and Ho Dog work the sheep up to the barn, then they put them into the round pen. From there, they moved them into the alleyway past the sorting pens, where at the right moment, I got Patty and a few of her friends into one of the pens. I then got her on the ground, held her down and Don shooed the rest of the sheep out of the pen. He then took charge of Patty's head, keeping her down, while I worked to get the lamb out. It was a hard pull - a huge lamb, and not much room to work with. The good news is that as the head cleared the exit, an eye opened up and looked at me and the nostrils twitched. The tongue was swollen but not terribly thick yet, so I continued to work the lamb out a little at a time. Patty had nothing left to help with, so it was all me. Finally, a long legged, long bodied lamb lay on the ground - another singleton ewe of impressive size. I made a quick check to see that there wasn't a brother or sister waiting to exit, and Don plopped the lamb across Patty's legs. It took her a few moments to get it in gear, but as I was clearing her teats, she finally chuckled and started cleaning up her daughter. Moments later, Annabelle was up on her feet looking for the faucets, and we gathered up Ho Dog and left the new mom alone to bond with her daughter.

And with Annabelle's entry into the flock, we are done lambing for the season. 6 ewe lambs, 2 ram lambs, no one died (altho Twyla came close). A good lambing season, altho a bit disappointing in only 2 sets of twins. Next year the four yearling ewes will go to Ryan and Mary's to visit with their fine, registered Katahdin ram. Can't wait to see how they turn out!

On to calving - two down, 5 to go.

Annabelle, about 24 hours old

I love how her two little white spots are the negative of mom's two black spots. She has another sprinkle of spots on the other side; pity that they will disappear as she gets older

1 comment:

  1. goodness gracious, it seems like its easier on the ewes to have multiples, so no one individual lamb is so big.