While others have been watching the Olympics, I have spent quite a bit of time in the barn with my sheeple. It has been a joyful & exuberant (although exhausting) period of time & I wouldn't trade it for the world. We have twelve new lambs – five ewes & seven rams, so far. One ewe, Pebbles, remains to deliver, and I am pretty sure that she is even more eager for that event than I am. It looks like there are at least twins in there. Big ones.
I am very grateful that the weather is so much more mild this year. While other parts of the country are under feet of snow, we are having an early spring. It makes up for last year's biting cold, wind & snow, which lasted way to long for my tastes. We are enjoying our daffodils already, and the little lambs are having a great time romping in the pasture.
I am posting a few photos which I hope you'll enjoy. First is our Anemarie with her newborn Malcolm. This is pretty much how they look at birth. There is a lot of cleaning involved, which Mom takes care of quite diligently, while murmuring to her newborn. It is a touching duet as the little one responds to Mommy with little "Ma-a-a-a-as". I trim the umbilical cord & treat with iodine to prevent infection.
During & after the cleanup period, the lamb stands up, finds teats & takes his first colostrum, a very important ingredient in a healthy lamb. Getting colostrum within the first few hours of life greatly increases the chance for the newborn's survival. After food & cleanup, Mom & lambs settle in together in the lambing jug or pen. They spend the first couple of days there, to have time to get acquainted & bond. This is Christiane with her lambs, Jethro & Keith.
After a couple of days in the lambing jug (pen), Mom & the lambs are ready to join the flock in the pasture. The lambs receive vaccines for Clostridium & Tetanus, and tails are banded. I place polar fleece jackets on the little ones for warmth, and they transition with Mom out to the pasture. The new lambs will take awhile to get acquainted with their flock but they make friends with the other lambs quickly, and within days are having lamb races & romping in the field.