So the pattern this lambing season is that just as the day’s work is done, the sheep are all fed, the group of mothers with young lambs is settled back in the barn, and the pregnant ewes brought in to their barn for the night, and just as we are sooo ready to take a break and head home for dinner…that’s when the lambing begins! For years we have fed no high-protein alfalfa to the pregnant ewes later than noon, because a publication showed that this feeding regimen shifted lambing from the nighttime to daytime hours. For the most part it has worked, and fewer of our ewes lamb in the dead of the night than used to. But nevertheless, 6:30 or 7:00 pm seems to have become the lambing-hour. Last night was Lisa’s night off, and just as Linda and I were buttoning up the barn and about to go home to dinner, Flower went into labor. We stuck around; she worked hard, and in pretty short order she delivered a beautiful white girl. We left her to get to know her daughter while we went home to start dinner, and we watched her from home on the barn camera.
Flower was an attentive mother, but as we watched, a Romney ewe named Gladys became fascinated with the new lamb, and nosed right in next to Flower to lick and love the lamb. No new lamb has ever been so clean, with two “mothers” competing to see which could love her the most! Flower was actually quite tolerant of Gladys’s attentions to her girl, never acting aggressively, but seemingly willing to share, and the little girl got fluffed up and blow-dried to perfection.
We went back to the barn after dinner, broke up the happy threesome, and put Flower and her daughter into a jug to do some mother-daughter bonding. Gladys pined outside the jug, trying to lick the lamb through the openings in the panel.
Of course Gladys’s unusual behavior was hormonally induced, indicating that she herself was close to delivering. And before long she was in labor outside Flower’s jug. We stayed with her while she delivered twins, a boy and a girl. We got her settled with her lambs in the neighboring jug to Flower’s family, and got to bed by 11:30.
This morning Melinda got to the barn at 5:30 to find our Friedale ewe Frieda with twins, Neva the Romnesian with a big single boy, and Gladys with–a bonus lamb! Another white girl. Gladys now seems very content with her large new family.
Neva had been our first lamb born in 2020, and was named for Linda’s grand-daughter Neva, born at almost the same time. This year Neva had a son, and we named him for Willy, the human Neva’s little brother.