Thursday, April 16, 2009

First lambs of 2009

As I was driving home from teaching today, I saw the llamas sniffing something on the ground. It was a little white lamb! I started screaming, "A lamb! A lamb! We have a lamb!" I pulled into the driveway, my fatigue was instantly gone, and I ran into the house screaming, "We have a lamb!" There was no one to be found, so I ran upstairs and changed into farm clothes. I saw Katherine outside the window and yelled the good news to her. She took off in the direction of the sheep pasture.

As soon as I finished changing clothes, I grabbed the camera and ran out there. When Katherine saw me getting close, she yelled that two ewes had lambed. Cheyenne, a black and white spotted ewe had given birth to a brown and white spotted ram and a brown ram. It obviously happened quite recently as she still had her placenta hanging on. The other ewe is white, and the ear tag is #15, but we're not sure who that is. She had a white ewe lamb and a brown ewe lamb. The little white one is having great difficulty keeping up with her mama, and her mama is not helping much.

Most mamas respond better than this one. If they hear their baby screaming, they go to it. This one is almost oblivious. Several sheep are more concerned for this little lamb than her own mother. Majik checked her out at least four or five times while we were there. The little ewe would scream, and Majik would come running, sniff her all over and then walk away. The little ewe has tried to nurse off several sheep, including wethers, who are not too happy about her sniffing around under their bellies. We picked her up several times and tried to put her closer to her mama, but mama just runs away from us, so we're not able to help. Her mother is in the background here, and it's one of the few times she actually paid attention to the little ewe.

Now I realize what I heard last night. I thought the little black wether had his head stuck in the fence again, because I kept hearing a high-pitched bleat coming from the sheep pasture as I was heading into the house last night after chores. Jonathan had taken care of the sheep and hadn't seen anything. I sent him out there in the dark to get the 8-month-old wether unstuck from the fence, but when he returned, he said that the wether must have freed himself. Now I realize it was probably this little girl's screaming that I heard. Katherine and I have been debating the merits of bringing her inside to bottle-feed her. She seems to have a full tummy, but we never saw her nurse, and her mother is never near her. The moment the little ewe gets close, the dam takes off again. It actually took a few minutes to figure out who her mother was, since she was all alone and no one was paying much attention to her other than the llamas and Majik.

At least we know these babies are from Willie Wonka, who came from Nancy Larson's flock dispersal last fall. I wanted more brown babies, and he has certainly delivered!


J. M. Strother said...

Poor baby. Hope momma starts taking better care of her soon.

Willy Wonka! LOL.

Caprifool said...

Heres what I do with a mama like that. I pen them up with their baby a day or two. Preferably indoors where it is quiet. If nessesary, I can also hold her still with my body against the wall so baby gets her colostrum. She normaly will bond after that, but if not. I bottle feed.

Good luck.

Nancy K. said...

I agree with Caprifool! I would definitely shut that ewe and her twins up in a jug for a couple of days until she bonds with that poor little ewe lamb! Watch her closely at first to make sure she doesn't attack the lamb...

Mom L said...

The farm blogs have really educated me - I never knew there was so much you had to learn, know and do to raise sheep and goats. I hope your mama quickly takes care of the little lamb but, if she doesn't, I know you'll be a great foster mom!

Nancy in Atlanta

Shula said...

Congratulations with your first lambs of the season and I hope the little white ewe is ok.

Anonymous said...


Congrats on the new lambs! So cute!

Hope things work out for the little ewe. Poor thing. All alone in the world. All she wants is a momma.

Good luck,

Claire said...

I am so excited to read about your first lambs of 2009! I would agree with Caprifool and Nancy - all my Iowa sheep contacts told us to move the ewes into a pen after they lamb, with their lambs, and keep them in there for 2 or 3 days to ensure proper bonding. Sounds like yours is hard to catch but it might be worth it for the little one's sake!

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb!

Sure feel sorry for that little lamb. The readers are right. The photos don't show up on my screen -- they are all in blocks.


dancingdenise said...

Hi Deb!

Ohhh, I am at the Waterford Library today. I see the little white wooly lamb. So cute! And the leaves not even yet on the trees.



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