Thursday, February 25, 2010

Life and Death

Lambing season is a time of new life on our farm - so far, we have 110 new lambs and 9 new goats born since mid January.  Last evening, I watched a ewe deliver twins.  As she delivered the second ram lamb, she continued to clean the firstborn lamb.  I've told our interns that I could tell whether the ewes had started lambing in the dark just by the sound they make to call to their newborns.  The new life we experience this time of year is miraculous.

But this is also a season that involves death.  Invariably, there are lambs and kids born that are too weak to survive.  The normal rate of stillborn lambs in sheep is 5-7 percent, so some are born without ever taking a breath.  Sometimes the weather creates problems for the newborns, as well.  I don't like the death that we must deal with this time of year, but it's something I've had to learn to accept as part of our livelihood.  We try mightily to save the lambs and kids that need our help, but sometimes our efforts go for naught.

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