Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Lambing Journal - Day 2

Sami with the newly jacketed lamb.
Our day started with checking on yesterday's ewe lamb.  Her head and one ear were still swollen.  While she was warm and seemed to have eaten, we decided to make sure.  While I held the ewe, Sami milked her (and we decided she had definitely nursed during the night).  We tube fed her, and gave her more anti-inflammatory and some long-acting antibiotics.  Sami made a "jacket" for her out of an old sweatshirt.  Tonight, she's still swollen, but she seems to have eaten - we'll keep our fingers crossed!

My next stop was at the paddock where the ewes were.  No new lambs, so we went on to Sierra College to move the yearling ewes and goats.  After feeding a small group of cows in Lincoln, I returned to Auburn to check the ewes - again, no new lambs.  Paul, Taff and I moved them just down the road to fresh feed (which they were happy about!).  We then expanded the paddock - I wanted to be sure they had plenty of feed and natural shelter with the weather (rain and snow) we're expecting in the next several days.

As we let them into the expanded paddock, we noticed a ewe calling and looking back like she'd left a lamb. She was showing whitish discharge, indicating she hadn't yet lambed.  After about a half an hour of searching for a lamb (just in case), Paul (our apprentice) saw her give birth to a ram lamb.  About 20 minutes later, she had a second - a ewe lamb this time.  After my last check tonight, all three were doing great!
Ewe 616 with her twins.

Courtney, Josie, Maria and Buck.
Our friend Courtney brought her baby Josie and her niece Maria by to see the sheep.  Buck made sure everyone was okay!

This new property has lots of blackberries (and according to the neighbors) lots of coyotes.  We're a bit concerned about predation, but our guard dog, Buck, has always done a great job.  When I went back just before sundown, he was laying near the ewe and her lambs, so I think the sheep are in good hands.
The last sunny afternoon for a while?

The coming weather makes me nervous.  We've selected breeds and individual ewes for their hardiness and mothering ability, but the combination of wind and cold rain or snow can be deadly.  We'll monitor things very closely over the next 3-4 days and move the sheep into a barn if it becomes necessary.  I won't sleep very well until this wet/cold spell passes.

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