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!