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…..
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…..