Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lambing Season - The End

This is Good Mom, with two of her three lambs. The third is tucked behind her, sleeping.

This is the image I want to see during lambing season, as it makes me forget about the nights of worry, of the ewe who died, of the twin orphans who refused to eat, of the stillborn lamb, and the two-day-old lamb that died. It fades the memories of the first and second spring snowfall, the winds that made the newborn lambs shiver, of the mud, mud, mud.

There were nights when I wondered why we raise sheep. It would be easier to have someone plant the fields with corn and soybeans. But then we'd miss the fields of green, the lambs racing and bouncing in the mornings and snoozing in the afternoon sun. We'd miss the occasional bottle lambs who wail when they see us and follow us everywhere. We'd miss watching lambs grow and fatten and chew their cuds. And, I'd miss the challenge and sense of discovery and accomplishment.

The ewes have all lambed now. Eleven ewes delivered 23 strong lambs.

Good Mom and a yearling ewe delivered the "oops" babies last week, thus bringing an eventful end to lambing season.

Good Mom struggled after delivering triplets. Her metabolism was off and she didn't want to eat and drink. For three days, the husband and I gave her shots, hoping to restore that balance. For three days, we watched as she cared for her lambs, and started drinking and eating. She and her three lambs are going to be all right. As is the young, first-time mom in the adjacent stall. That mom, after being stalled next to the calm Good Mom, has calmed down, as have her lambs.

While the sheep husbandry books are informative, they can't cover every scenario and offer every suggestion. I just had to figure out that putting seasoned pros with the young moms seems to calm everyone now... and hopefully in the years to come.

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