Thursday, February 26, 2009

Further Lambing Adventures

Lambing is continuing but not at quite as rapid a pace as in January. Wednesday morning, I found this little teeny lamb covered with afterbirth beside a yearling ewe. The lamb was already up on its feet. Although the new mama looked quite bewildered, she seemed to realize that something important had happened in her life. She was in the process of cleaning the lamb although by no means had she done as good a job as some of the seasoned mamas.

The Farmer arrived a few minutes later and after feeding his crew of 5 bottle lambs, we started the task of trying to pen up the new mama with her baby. Most good mamas will follow their babies if you keep it right in front of them so they can see and smell the lamb. Yesterday there was a bit of confusion with the mama taking off into the sea of sheep. The poor little baby was crying "maaaah, maaaah."

From amongst the sea of sheep, the mama answered "baaaah, baaaah". That was good news because at least she knew she had something important to attend to. The Farmer would slowly walk the baby up to the new mama, have her take a look and then slowly walk backwards, in the hopes that she would follow. There were several false starts.

Finally, the mama started to catch on and walked across the barn, still quite confused as to what she should do and where that foreign object she knew she was supposed to be interested in went. The Farmer placed the lamb inside the makeshift pen. There it lay – “maaaahing” away, hoping its mama would join it.

Again, a bit more waiting – patience is a virtue in sheep farming. Finally, the mama deemed it safe to get close to the lamb. That’s her up on the right side of the photo above.

The Farmer quickly pulled the fencing to the wall. We left them to bond. The Farmer continued to check on them during the day and both mama and lamb seemed to be adapting to life with each other. The lamb was nursing.

I brought Julia and her friend Casey who is animal crazy down to the barn for a little look-see at the new lamb. The mama was settling in but still a bit skittish. I know I had that feeling the first days Julia was home with me after getting out of the hospital.

Sad news just in…..
12 Noon
The Farmer just walked in the door to tell me that he found the new little lamb dead this morning. Oh, it is heart-breaking living on a farm. He doesn’t know what happened but can only assume that the lamb didn’t get enough milk from the mama to make it. Let’s hope that next year, this mama will do better. She will be larger and hopefully have a larger lamb.

No matter how many sheep you have, it still hurts in your heart to lose one…..


Willow said...

Oh I'm really sad. Poor mama.

Wendy said...

oh, such sad news

Donna S. said...

Oh poo!!!! :(

ellen said...

Yes, it always hurts.

Karin said...

Poor little lambie...but thank you for sharing.

Nanci said...

Oh no, I had a bad feeling about this one when you said she was young. You have noted that the young sheep do not sometimes make good mothers. Isn't that why you have the kitchen full of lambs?

mascanlon said...

Oh sad, next time she'll do better I'm sure!

Susan said...

oh, that's so sad...sweet little thing.

I love reading your blog and if I was closer I'd be the first one signed up for your class this weekend. Have fun and I can't wait to see your new book.

take care,
susan b anderson

Jennifer and Steve said...

I'm sad too. :( jennifer

Deborah said...

Poor little lamb...that tugs at the heartstrings.

Michele in Maine said...

So sweet and so sad. But, it's the circle of life, right? that's what I tell my daughter. Julia is lucky to have so many lambs to play with!

Rane said...

That is so sad when she looked like
she was making progress. How was
the momma doing when he went out?
Was she morning her loss or did
she even notice that something
happened? I hope that you have
no more losses. That has to get
ruff after a while. Send us some
more Kitty photos to cheer us all

turtlewoman said...

Oh dear - this post brought tears.

Lindy in AZ

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog except when I cry. You have to put a warning in for me for things like this!
Amy G.