Monday, April 4, 2011

First lamb of the year

It is unfortunate that sheep and goats are often lumped into the category of small ruminants, which leads some people to think that they are almost the same animal, except that one has wool. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sheep are far more aloof than goats. And while even a shy goat enjoys human company while in labor, sheep want to be left alone. So, it is never really a "surprise" when we find new lambs in the pasture. Ewes are also very quiet when lambing -- often not making a sound through the whole process.

I was speaking at a homesteading conference on Saturday, and when I arrived home, Mike met me with the news that we had our first lamb of 2011. He wasn't sure if it was Cheyenne or Naira (both are spotted), and he didn't know if it was a ewe or a ram lamb. The sun was almost completely gone, so it was too late to venture into the pasture to see the newest addition to the farm. Mike had taken pictures with his cell phone, however, so I was able to at least get a preview. Katherine and I immediately recognized Cheyenne as the mother in the photos, but it was anyone's guess about the lamb's gender.

Sunday we went out to the pasture, and the little lamb, still quite shy, let us know that she was a ewe when she squatted to pee.

I'm not entirely sure when we'll see more lambs, because Jonathan kept removing the ram from the ewes' pasture last fall. He felt sorry for the young ram, because the ewes kept beating him up.


SkippyMom said...

Glad they are little more low maintenance, but you guys barely got to catch your breath. :)

Cute little gal. :)

Nancy K. said...

i have the opposite experience with my flock. my shetland ewes actually tend to get friendlier as lambing approaches. the ewes love to have their bellies rubbed and don't seem to mind my presence for the births, at all. it is possible that the handfuls of cookies that i give the moms-to-be between contractions (to keep their energy levels up) may influence their desire for companionship...

Jeremiah said...

With your kidding this year, sounds like a breath of fresh air! Are the black spotted eyes a normal shetland thing? Cute little girl. Let's hope they stay this easy.

Jenny Holden said...

Congratulations on starting lambing, what a pretty little yuglet :o)
My girls become more cuddly just before they lamb and will wander over for a bit of company, but they like to be left to get on with it once labor properly starts. In fact I rarely see the actual birth since they seem to wait until my back is turned, even for five minutes, and then pop them out!

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Nancy, LOL! Yeah, the cookies might have something to do with how friendly your ewes are!

Jeremiah, yes, the big black spots on the eyes are a Shetland thing. I love spotted sheep!

Jenny, in eight years, I think I've seen three or four of my ewes give birth. They are very secretive about it!

DangAndBlast! said...

Heh - in several languages (most notably - to me, as they're the ones I know - some of the Indian languages), there is only one word for both "goat" and "sheep." I've had a lot of difficulty trying to explain to people that those aren't sheep all over the streets, they're goats, and they're different - and that if they go to America and ask for "mutton" in the stores, they won't get goat meat, as they would in India - if they want goat meat (at least in Texas), they'll have to ask for "cabrito." (And, generally, Americans are more likely to eat lamb than mutton anyhow.) About as silly as the time I tried to translate a sermon on the difference between "faith" and "belief" for a German audience... it's all "Glaube" there.


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