Wool is Born
Julia and I met The Farmer at the barn (which is actually a modified greenhouse) a couple Saturdays ago to check on the lambing progress. Things were beginning to heat up and each day more and more lambs were being born. Lambing time is the most exciting part of the year in sheep farming. We don’t go overboard checking the animals at all hours of the day and night. First of all, we don’t live on the site where the barn is – it is five miles from our house on the farm where Mark grew up. And secondly, most of the ewes can take care of their babies themselves. Thirdly, with over 150 sheep, we would never sleep. Because of this, we don’t often see the lambs being born. This year has been an exception. Julia and I have seen about 6 births – most successful and some not. Every time I watch a lamb entering the world, it amazes me the miracle of birth and how animals really just know what to do.
That particular Saturday morning, I had my camera with me with its optical 12X zoom. We arrived to a ewe in labor. Here she is chasing around a little lamb - a trait they sometimes exhibit when in labor.
After a while, she settled down on a lovely muddy spot (the ground at this point wasn't frozen - it was more like March mud season). I feel very lucky to have been able to document this birth and I hope you enjoy seeing what we saw that morning.
The hooves are appearing - the sign of a successful birth on the horizon.
Here it comes.
She pushed like a veteran.
Pretty much delivered.
Mom is cleaning her up very quickly.
The baby wants to get up - hurry up Mama.
What a great Mama. But we could tell she wasn't quite done. We waited and waited - me ready with my camera hoping for a movie. Julia asking a million questions. The ewe put it off. Can't say I blame her. I wouldn't want a movie made of me in that position either. Nor would I want three humans watching. But Julia and I were determined and The Farmer was patient. An hour passed and Lamb No. 1 was thriving. Then we noticed a younger, less experienced ewe was having trouble birthing her second lamb. We coaxed her into a pen and The Farmer assessed the situation. Her first lamb was okay but the second lamb definitely didn't want to budge. Just as he was beginning to deliver the troubled lamb, the ewe pictured slipped into the pen with her lamb. Talk about crowded - 3 people, 2 large ewes and 2 lambs. While The Farmer was pulling, "SuperMama" popped out Lamb #2.
Same mom - but what a difference in the color of the fluids. Here sibling is interested in what's new.
Baby No. 2 ready for a meal.
That Saturday we had added ten new lambs to the flock. Things have slowed down somewhat but they are still coming. I'll try not to overdo the lamb thing but it's going to be tough to curb my enthusiasm for their cuteness and photogenic qualities. We will see what tomorrow will bring.