Monday, February 08, 2010

First lambs....

The red mark on the ewe's side is a painted brand.  Lazy YJ

The first lambs are born on the coldest day of the new year.  It was -10 degrees when I got up this morning and left for the shed to check on the ewes.  Sure enough, there was a set of twins born.  They were healthy and perky, but the cold can really take a toll on these scrawny lil creatures if they don't get up quickly and nurse.

 

This afternoon this ewe had her twins outdoors.  The temperature had gone up to 0 degrees by then, but since her lambs were born outside on the snow they needed to be warmed.   I brought them into the barn, set them on a heat mat and then turned on the Nipco heater and tried to warm up the lambs.  Hubs went up to check on them later on and found that there was no milk in in one side of the mama's bag so we made some replacement milk (whole milk and corn syrup) and I found a small bag of frozen sheep milk left over from last year that we added  to the replacement milk and fed them both by bottle.  By this evening, the lambs were very perky and happy.  It's amazing what a little warm colostrum and milk can do in the belly of a cold, wet lamb.  It totally turns ON their system.  We may end up taking one of the lambs away from this ewe due to the spoiled side and lack of milk.  If so, we will give the lamb to a ewe who births just one single lamb.  

Just so you know, in our herd it is very common to have twins.  Last year we had three sets of triplets and one set of quads.  We gave the "extra" lambs to ewes with single lambs and the remaining lambs were raised by their mothers.  Otherwise the weaker lambs would end up starving.  Usually, two lambs per mama ewe is the maximum number for the lambs to be healthy and well fed.

As I type, there is no wind and it is very still outside.  The thermometer reads a freezing -14 degrees.  Tonight we will get up every couple of hours to go up to the shed to check on the sheep.  All the ewes are in the shed; the straw on the floor and their body heat will keep it quite cozy.  Still, the ground is very cold and wet newborn lambs will chill down quickly in these temperatures.  This is precisely why I prefer May lambing.

13 comments:

  1. I know that is a lot of work...God bless his shepherd everywhere! May you have all healthy babies and mom's. Come say hi :D

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  2. Jody, I immediately had chuckled when I saw the tufts of hair on this little one. It's too cute.

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  3. Awww, they're so sweet! What a lot of work for you. It must be worth it though, to see the miracle of new life!

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  4. Thank you for sharing about the lambs! They are so tiny and sweet. Oh, I pray for a warm up so that the rest of the lambing might be more pleasant. I wish I could hear them "talking" as they start to get older. Oh, Jody. You made my day!

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  5. All babies are so sweet. I am still amazed by your life. Stay warm xoxoxoxo Clarice

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  6. Whoa every couple hours going out in the cold. Hope someone is keeping the kettle hot for you! That little lamb is so cute!

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  7. oh my~!!~came over from Pom Pom's blog and am so glad that i did~!!~
    those tiny lambs are just the encouragement that i need right now in order to believe that spring WILL come . . . eventually.

    :)
    libbyQ

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  8. Burr...stay warm on those midnight outings. Love hearing about the sheep. I know nothing about them..well not much anyway. I like them, but DH is a cow man all the way. Ha

    ~M~

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  9. brrr....yes stay warm! Precious,precious little lambs. So sweet Jody.

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  10. I am learning so much from reading your blog. The baby lambs are darling. Sounds like your in for a rough night of sleep, I will keep you in my prayers tonight.

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  11. Friends of ours had a small flock - and one lambing time they found a lamb in a puddle - they thought it was dead but they took it inside and warmed it by the woodstove - it revived. They named it Lazarus :)

    BTW - Understood Betsy is one of my favourite childhood reads. Have you tried the Betsy-Tacy series?

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  12. You are so nurturing and grounded -- practical and full of appreciation. I feel like I have a view into another world and it's a very beautiful one. Thank you so much for sharing your life.

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  13. Oh, what amazing and adorable faces!

    I would prefer May lambing, too, but am fascinated to read about the lambing that goes on in February.

    Stay warm, Jody!

    frances
    who thought 19 degrees was cold!

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