Tuesday, March 24, 2015

33 Lambs

The last week has been a blur of morning chores, work, home to more chores.  Winter requires more work in terms of feeding and watering...add 33 lambs coming over the course of a month, in the most intense unrelenting cold, and you have a daunting and ongoing challenge.   This has been the winter that was, and the sooner it "was" as in past tense, the better it will be for everyone.  Yesterday morning it was 8 degrees F. outside, this morning 4 degrees.  All the water buckets and bowls freeze.  Hopefully the sheep, goats, bunnies and chickens have consumed the water we give them or we have blocks of ice that have to be removed before we give them more.  Animals do well in the cold as long as they are out of the wind and have food and water.  It's harder on the shepherd, who has to suit up and protect hands and face from the burning cold.  The lambs are doing fine, fat and happy.  It's a big job keeping the moms fit enough to feed all those babies.  Three moms are still in the old mama's twins, are being supplemented with bottles.  I've tried to give the triplets bottles but they don't want milk replacer, just mom's teats.  Poor girl, I try to baby her all I can.  Last night after chores I thought I better go to the way, way back and check around.  My shepherd's intuition paid off...there, tucked under the hay feeder, was a newborn black ram lamb!  This is Gippeto's baby, Wensleydale ram number 2, from Laurie O'Neill's lovely black ewe Erin.  I brought them forward to the maternity ward for the special newborn treatment.  Erin is a fantastic mom and loves her boy.  I got inside around midnight, relieved that I caught this birth not long after it happened.  I found the frozen placenta by the back door and gave it to the very grateful Knut.  Livestock Guardian Dogs, LGD's, are programmed to eat placentas so as not to attract predators. They think they are delicious.   Not sure I agree.  I think I am all done lambing except for one more of Laurie's ewes.  The fleeces should be incredible.  I'm proud that I have another young flock of sheep to love.  In six weeks they'll be on green grass, leaping and bounding over the hillside, drinking from the pond.  I will lie down on the grass and soak up the sun and rejoice that we made it through this winter.  33 is a nice round number.


Dogmommy4 said...

Hi Maggie. I have enjoyed reading your blog for about 2-3 years. I marvel at the amount of work you must do at lamb time!! I hope you are feeling better now and that your finger is healing.

I would like to make some lamb sweaters for you. Do you have or know where I could get a pattern?

Ginny in Calif.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maggie - You haven't posted for a while - hope all is going well and you have caught up after lambing. I enjoyed reading your lambing chronology.

I live in Cobleskill and I start lambing in May. Reading your blog has gotten me ready - at least it should be warmer!
Best wishes - Gail