Lambing began on Sunday morning, when Nan, one of our older Romney ewes, went into labor. Last year Nan had a torn placenta and lost both her lambs, and was so sad, so we were eager to see her be a happy mom this year. Melinda and Lolo got her into the barn from the pasture and her first lamb presented with a head and only one foot, so it needed a little pull. The same was true with the second, but she wound up with two big, vigorous boys and she is a very happy mother.
Later that day, Heather, a 3/4 Romney and first-time mother, went into labor and after she had been laboring for a long time with no progress, we investigated. It was a mess–three feet and no head in the birth-canal. I felt my way around and convinced myself I had two legs from one lamb, and a head coming with them. But when I got the legs out to where I could see them, one was black and one was white! Heather doesn’t have the right genetics to have a black and white lamb, so this had to be two different lambs. I had to push everything back into her womb and try to sort it out, and when I couldn’t, Melinda gave it a try. Poor Heather was so stoic. The first lamb to come was the white one, and its head was flopped back making it really difficult for Melinda to line it up to deliver, and then it was a really hard pull. Finally it took Lolo to get the lamb out, and we saw the problem–the lamb had died in utero, and dead lambs are often floppy and hard to deliver. After we got that lamb out of the way Melinda went back to find the black one, who was alive, if a bit stressed by the ordeal. We were worried about Heather after such a difficult delivery, but she and her lamb bounced back really well. Yesterday they left the lambing jug and headed out to pasture with Nan and her twins.
Things have moved along easily since that rough start, with no more difficult deliveries. Our black Corriedale ewe, Cora, had a beautiful black girl. Perry the Cormo is the father, so this is our first black Cormo/Corriedale cross. And Bronwen, one of two ewes bred to Joe our East Friesian ram we lost in November, had a beautiful all-black girl and a white boy. These are going to be among the last of our lambs with significant East Friesian genetics and we are really enjoying their adorable classic East Friesian faces and airplane ears. Both are promised to buyers who want 3/4 East Friesians for their backyard dairies. Tulip, another 3/4 Romney, had twin girls yesterday, and Maison the Romney rounded out today with a boy and a girl. So far total we have 10 lambs from 6 ewes.