Thursday, April 6, 2017

Black and Grey

After being jugged for two nights, Daphne finally had twins this morning. Lucky for her - unlike poor Claire - I let her out to the paddock each day. She had been barely eating the past few days and really looking out to the mountains, off in the corner of the paddock, all by herself.

After she bolted out of the jug this morning back to the main stall, I let Doris and her ewe follow Daphne out to the paddock. It was a lovely morning and the little ewe lamb seemed active enough to stretch her legs with the big lambs. All was fine and Daphne just seemed like she'd wait another day. Maggie's udder had grown considerably overnight and certainly dropped, so I considered jugging her, but I couldn't isolate her very easily, and with all the lambs running around I decided it wasn't worth the effort.

I spent the majority of the morning pruning shrubs around the yard. Around 11 I decided I'd check on Maggie to see if she'd gone back to nesting in the big stall. All the ewes were out, except Daphne was no where in sight. I went into the barn to check the stall, and there she was just laying down rather calmly. Except then she wasn't. She was clearly in labor, stretching her head to the sky, lips curled back, cooing softly and pushing. Yes, full labor. She stood up and there were the tips of the hooves, already presenting.

Since our previous lambings this season have seemed rather drawn out, I went back to the house to get my young son, who has been asking when can he see a lamb come out. He ran up to the barn, and by the time we got there she was really pushing. I got him a small ladder to stand on so he could watch over the stall door, and we waited there, side by side, watching quietly so we wouldn't disrupt her. She was up and then down, up and then down again; pushing each time she laid down. "Why is she making that noise?" he asked. "She's talking to her baby," I replied. His eyes got big and he smiled. He was so focused. The ewe was so focused. My gaze shifted between the two, watching his reaction to her actions. The ewe stood, squatted and pushed as the lamb slowly dove to the straw below. Plop! She turned immediately, tongue flashing, ready to clean her lamb. The lamb flopped in the wet pile of goop, struggling to lift its head and take its first look at the world. Nose, eyes, ears all cleaned. The first cries of a newborn. I turned to my son, "A new lamb is born." And he just smiled back.

An hour later I went back to check on the ewe and relocate the two of them to a jug. While we were inside eating lunch, Daphne had lambed a second, larger gray ewe.  Twin ewes from a first-time mom. Way to go Daph!

Next up...Maggie???


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