Friday, January 26, 2007

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.


First drink.


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.

19 comments:

Kate said...

I love the lambs - the pics are amazing !! more pleeease....
Kate

futuregirl said...

Wow, that is so awesome. Thank you so much for posting the birth pictures. It's an incredible experience!

Anne said...

There is absolutely no way you can overdo pictures of babies - of any kind. Keep em coming! :)

Marcy said...

Oh, please do overdo the lambing picture thing! I love lambing season and don't often get to participate.

Don't you love it when the moms talk to the new lambs and the lambies do their tiny baaahs back at their moms?

Yesterday's photo of the ewe followed by two lambies is wonderful!

Natalie said...

Not overdoing it at all, it's all very interesting!

Anonymous said...

wow. nature is amazing, isn't it? Thank you for sharing.

Francie said...

Wow - 10 lambs in one day! Such sweet little faces. Thanks for sharing with us.

Peg said...

Thanks for the lamb photos. Just think one of those little ones could produce wool for a baby's sweater!
Wonder what makes the difference in the colouring of their 'birth' coats!

Anonymous said...

just a wonderful post - this is one of my favourite blogs
all of us moms could use a hand now & then - glad to see that you were able to be there for the young ewe

Joy said...

Great photos and story about the lambs, Kristin. Glad you're back--missed your posts while the modem was down,

brsmaryland said...

How amazing! Your pictures are fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. My huge love for lambs just increased tenfold. They are just the sweetest little things.

Mary Ann said...

Wonderful photos and as always the miracle of life is awe inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful events in your life. Just fascinating. Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

Wow that was amazing!
Thanks for sharing that with us.

berni said...

Thanks so much for the amazing lamb pics. Birth is a beautiful but sometimes scary process, even for us!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Marcy and Natalie. There is no way that you could overdo the lamb pictures and stories. They are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

These are wonderful pictures! Thanks so much for sharing! All the lambs are just precious! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

There is no way to overdo the lamb thing! Getting a glimpse of the whole process is wonderful! They are cute, cute, cute...good golly!

Angie said...

that is really neat! i've never seen a lamb be born before. thank you for sharing your pictures.