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Getting Through Lambing

Twenty of our thirty-three ewes have lambed so far at Cloverworks Farm.  Thirty eight lambs have been born, with thirty six surviving.  One loss was a little BFL ewe lamb who failed to nurse overnight with her mother.  Another was 1627’s lamb, whom we had indoors and who just faded away, likely from pneumonia.  Though some amount of loss is usual, I am still disappointed with my failure to keep these lambs alive.  I’ve been intervening more since the first loss, feeling that I could have done more to warm and feed the lost lambs.

But the sad part aside, we have 34 healthy little lambs in the barn and two bouncy lambs in the house. Due to weather and mis-mothering, we have one lamb each from the recently-born triplets in our custody.  With Steven Jr. weaned and on his own, we can deal with lambs in the house again.   The lambs in the barn are happy and bouncy.  Since the oldest lamb is now four months old,  we have quite a range of sizes.   Some of the youngest lambs still haven’t figured out how to home in on their mother, so I’ve been helping 123 find her mom, 264, often.  All of the adults are struggling to tolerate the shear number of lambs who want to climb on their backs.

We are still waiting for the snow to melt and the pasture to start to green.  Not much by way of spring weather yet, other than a few days with highs in the 40’s F.

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Starting to look crowded in the barn!  
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The lamb with the bright yellow tag is three and a half months younger than the lamb in the foreground facing us.  That fella is about 2/3 the size of his mother right now.
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Some of the newest arrivals
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The bleakness of early spring.

 

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Lambs go Wild

Here’s a rundown on how the lambs are doing.

Born on 3/1, Summer and Morty are fat, sassy little brats.  No longer timid newborns, they bounce around the barn and annoy all of the pregnant ewes.   They are also milk-seeking guided missiles, trying to sneak a sip of milk from any ewe standing still.   They are healthy, happy, living-testaments to hybrid vigor.  Bobolink is a fabulous and attentive mother.

Little Moose gave us Sue Perkins and Gordon Ram-sey on 3/6.  Little Moose had Gordon first.  It was cold out, so I toweled him off straightaway.  She seemed alarmed and annoyed by his presence.  I was concerned that my assistance had put her off mothering, so when she had a second lamb, Matt and I decided to leave them be.  Little Moose lay there, lamb behind her, and lay, and lay, and didn’t turn around or look at her lamb.  Nothing.  I tried to milk her so that we could bottle-feed the lambs, but nothing let down.  If we were prepared with a headgate, we could have imprisoned Little Moose until she decided that being a mother was better than being in jail.   Without a headgate, we set Little Moose free and pulled out our supply of emergency colostrum.  The lambs are growing well, though the feeding every four hours is very wearing on Matt and I.  Matt has been so kind as to always do the 2am duty.  He’s a hero in my eyes.

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Little Moose’s bottle lambs, Sue Perkins and Gordon Ram-sey

Dalek had her lambs on 3/10.  Her girls, Dame Judi Densch and Dame Maggie Smith, are GIGANTIC monster lambs, at least 15 lbs each.  Judi, the black ewe, was a little dopey at first, but both got the hang of nursing on Day 1 and are now happily roaming the barn.  So excited that the BFL ewe lamb count is at three already with more registered ewes yet to lamb.

Then, this morning, Peggy went in to labor.  We had a false alarm earlier this week regarding Peggy, and I’ve been worried about her since the fall as she is so old now.  Lately, she’s become too thin.  I’ll write a bit more about how I’m intending to help Peggy later.

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Bobolink’s newborns
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Summer is full of beans
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Family portrait with Dalek
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Dalek’s babies staying warm