My Learning Curve Flattens Out
I pulled a set of twins last night. Just plunged my hands into the gooey birth canal and pulled. The twins belong to the unnamed sheep who I thought was dying about a month ago. Beautiful, identical twin ewes. They look like they could be sheep super models . . . lithe bodies and incredibly long legs. Mother and lambs knew immediately what to do. Wow! Lambing's a rush when it goes well.
I've come a long way from the days when I had to call the vet to clip Blanche's hooves because I was too afraid to handle her.
So here's the lambing rundown. All the ewes except one were pregnant. One had her lamb at the end of November when we were in the States.
Around the 22nd of January Soixante-Douze had a beautiful, large lamb that lived five days. I think she froze to death in the barn or someone smothered her.
The day after Soixante-Douze gave birth, an unnamed ewe gave birth to a small, bag of bones that I was sure wouldn't make it. The mother didn't seem to be feeding it, so I bottle fed it but still kept it with the mother. I expected to walk in and find it dead during the cold spell, not Soixante-Douze's huge lamb. The bag of bones will be three weeks old tomorrow and he's a big, gorgeous guy. The Husband wants to keep him for breeding. (You'll notice a theme here as I go along.) The lamb eventually started nursing off of his mother, but continued to want a bottle, and I give it to him otherwise he makes it impossible for me to feed my orphan lamb because he paws the two of us unless he's fed his bottle. This double-dipping is probably the reason he's so huge. He's the lamb in the photo with the Husband that folllows this post.
I had an unnamed ewe give birth to two huge beautiful twins that were either stillborn or died shortly after birth.
Biberon had twins. She gave birth easily and all seemed well for two days, but then she rejected the smaller of the two, the male. So I have been bottle feeding him. Which means, every five hours I have to make him a bottle. I feel as if I have a permanent case of jet lag. He goes by many names: Spot, Buddha Belly, Shrimp, Napoleon, and one the Husband made up, Bieberbelle. He's very cute and dwarfish. Today the Husband told me that we should castrate him and keep him. He would be our bell whether.
Blanche had a difficult time giving birth to two GIGANTIC lambs. She was in labor for six hours which is a long time for a sheep. But it wasn't distressful so I left her alone until the final hour. Then she seemed to be pushing without results so I called the Dutch guy who used to work at a lab where they clone sheep. Luckily, being Dutch, he had already finished his meal at 7:30pm and said he'd be down in a half an hour. If I needed to call a Frenchman, I'd have had to wait three more hours.
After making the call, I returned to the barn, and there was a little head poking out of Blanche. I timidly felt around for the front legs, found them and pulled out the lamb.
Marleyna, is all white, with black eyeliner around both eyes. Probably the cutest little lamb I've ever seen. Blanche fell in love with her immediately.
After the successful birth, I went back into the house, and called the Dutch guy to tell him he didn't have to come over. He was happy. I stayed in the house for about an hour to eat. When I returned to the barn I found Blanch in the process of expelling a huge blob. The blob hit the ground. Blanche didn't turn around to look at it, so I rushed over, pulled all the crud from its face and out of its mouth, and then set it in front of Blanche. To her credit, Blanche did clean him off immediately and seemed very interested in her second lamb.
The male, Marley Deux, is a handsome guy that looks like his father with his black eyes and ears. But Blanche has sort of rejected Marley Deux. She butts him out of the way and definitely prefers Marleyna. However, I haven't had to bottle feed Marley Deux because he's very intrepid and figures out the optimal times he can sneak up and nurse -- when his mother is standing at the feed bin eating, or when his sister is nursing he latches on to the other spigot.
The Husband hasn't said anything about keeping Marley Deux, but I don't see how it's fair to send him to the butcher when it seems we're keeping every other lamb. And I really do admire his gusto and ingenuity.