We’ve been preparing for lambs over the last few days. Ever-rounder ewes have warned us that it’s time to plan.
These are some of our most ostentatiously pregnant ewes:
We started by placing our order from Premier 1 Supplies. We bought fresh new bottles and nipples for the inevitable bottle lambs, smore syringes and needles, and a can of colostrum replacer. We like to have colostrum replacer on hand to “stretch” colostrum when needed. We’ll mix it with a bit of colostrum borrowed from another ewe. I organized our existing lambing supplies and ordered more ear tags. Lots of small things to think of and loose ends to tie off.
Preparing our supplies is one matter, but preparing mentally is another. I am a huge fan of Lambing Live, a show that used to run annually on the BBC. Episodes are available on YouTube. Even though some are missing or out of order, it’s still a valuable watch if you want to get psyched for several weeks of sleepless stress. Truly, watch this series a bit if you find sheep even remotely interesting.
What is the stress of lambing? It’s not an excess of physical work. We have our farm pretty streamlined from that angle. It’s not even a complete lack of sleep. We have barn cameras to help us monitor the barn without having to get up and clothe ourselves every time. It’s really the stress of responsibility. It’s the stress of constant decisionmaking that could result in the death of a lamb whose issues we might fail to recognize, or excessive intervention where patience is needed. Making these calls constantly tires me, and tracking every detail wears on my mind.
Two days ago, I took a walk up Creek Rd and played “stick” with my pal Nugget, the Border Collie. I told her that it might be the last walk for a while, as we were expecting lambs any time. She cocked her head in a BC manner, not understanding that it may be farewell for a short while.
How precient were my words, because this morning we were blessed with two little black Border Leicester lambs. I had a notion to check the barn cam as I lay in bed at 7, and there they were. Matt reviewed the video on the barn cams. The birth was concealed by a hay feeder, but the moment of birth is perfectly apparent when the loud cry of a lamb alerted and alarmed every ewe in the barn. Ears and heads all turned the sharp, high little baas. Oxytocin is flowing already, and we’ve only just begun.