Lambing 2012 Begins!

We interrupt our scheduled memoir to bring breaking news of this year’s lambing, which began three days earlier than expected. Naturally we were ready for such an eventuality as Shelagh keeps a record of each ewe and their previous lambing record (some ewes have a habit of early births). Plus we err on the safe side and bring each ewe into the lambing stable a couple of days early just in case.

So we moved – as in half led, half pushed – our first ewe up the hill from their pasture on Monday evening. And, because no ewe likes being on her own, we brought the next one up to keep her company. The next morning the first ewe gave birth to triplets – two boys and one girl. The first picture shows the family group two days later. We fence off small areas of our lawn to allow the ewe and lambs to bond outside in a protected environment before putting them out with the main flock. New lambs have a habit of getting lost, running to the wrong ewe and, sometimes, when they try to suckle, receiving a head butt as a reminder.

Two days later we were monitoring the second ewe when Shelagh noticed the third ewe, still in the main field, looking pensive and moving away from the rest of the flock. Half an hour later that ewe started to give birth and we had to move her to the lambing pen – up a steep hill with very little assistance from the ewe in question. She had two ewe lambs. I had a minor coronary.

The second ewe, who was now third, followed suit the next morning. The pictures show the two sets of twins that day. Both sets are less than 24 hours old. One of the girls, a mere six hours old, is having a bad ear day – and she knows it.

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Lambing 2012 Begins! — 9 Comments

  1. I should add that all seven are remarkably strong and healthy. Mum and the triplets are now back in the main field with the two ewes due next week.

  2. I would never have imagined that lambs could glare like that last little one. “Don’t look at me! I am not cute. I am disgruntled!”

    How many ewes do you expect to produce lambs this year?

  3. We have five though the fifth one hasn’t produced an udder yet so the juries out on her. We used a yellow raddle on the ram for one of the cycles and it didn’t show up very well, so we’re unsure about her.

  4. What do you do with the sheep, after? Are they meat lambs, or do you raise them for their wool? (Is it going to be necessary to come to visit you, and spin the wool into yarn?)

  5. Shelagh used to card and spin the fleeces (when we had coloured Icelandic/Shetland sheep) but you can’t give away fleeces these days.

    I still have sweaters from the 90s completely home produced – raised/shorn/carded/spun/knitted). Icelandic wool is much sought after.

  6. I do hope that “minor coronary” was metaphorical….

    Cute lambs, ooo! (And Brenda, I have heard of ewe’s milk being sold — uncommon, but apparently a reasonable niche market.)