Sunday, February 28, 2016

It Can Take You Back

After a few days of High Alert, all-night pasture checks, and constant monitoring I have yet to have another set of lambs hit the good earth here. I have one ewe camped out all day away from the flock and her udder is as big as a quaffle under her belly, but she hasn't gone into labor yet. The oldest ewe, Split Ear, is ten and I *think* holding twins. The plan is to take those right away and bottle feed them, milking out her colostrum for them. That might seem harsh to some of you, taking the babes away, but last year her poor milk production lost me a lamb and I am not willing to learn that lesson the hard way again. The other two sheep (Which Patty, whom I bought them from, emailed me to let me know are Romney and Romney/Merino) are around three years old and I am not as concerned about them knowing their lambing history, but every birth can be a new chance for something to go wrong. Fingers are crossed.

I find myself starting to enjoy this weird feeling of lambing season. It feels like finals week did in college, or how I feel at the end of a long run. It's ethereal. I'm hyper focused and super tired at the same time. In a way, the way a primate is supposed to fee, I suppose. Our ancestors hunted and gathered for food, and if they let themselves drift away from awareness of the wilderness - it would take them. A saber toothed tiger would pounce on them. A snake would lower from a hanging branch and bite. Soon as the Wild catches you not paying attention, it takes you back. That's how Lambing Season feels, five years into doing it. Like as soon as I let myself sleep in, not go out on a cold night, not pay constant attention - that's when Nature will swoop in and take those babes back. It's my job to not sleep on the job, literally and figuratively.

I have been playing more fiddle these days. A friend is coming to the farm to take lessons and teaching him is keeping me on my toes. He's got a knack for that devil stick, and I am trying to up my own fiddle game by learning from new tunes and fixing the old ones. My playing grew stagnant and lazy. Now I am working on new songs for the first time in a long time. It's a good thing to carry out into the sheep field while I watch the ewes chew cud and tell each other secrets.

I hope you are all having luck with your own lambing, kidding, calving, foaling, hatching, farrowing and kindling out there. Anyone else have baby stories to keep this farm girl company while she plays for a pony on a hill?


Blogger mdoe37 said...

I got a long wait for the incubator, but I am up to three eggs a day for the girls!! (which is like equal to one chicken egg)

February 28, 2016 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger Sooz said...

Waiting for 25 more chicks to arrive at the post office, they'll be joining around 40 older hens. We've got the heat lamp and chick feed ready and waiting. Tilled the garden up today, taking advantage of the rare 70 February degrees. Greenhouse has new lettuce that will make it to tonight's dinner table. Tomato, sweet potato, radish and who knows what else are sprouting in the windowsill. Spring preparations are in full swing!

February 28, 2016 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Just lying here nursing my own baby in the dark. I'm no farmer, but after 5 months I do know a thing or two about nursing. And rule number one is milk production is all about supply and demand. The fewer opportunities babies have to drink from the source, the less milk there will be. Pumping does not equal nursing. Of course I'm sure you know all that, and I surely know nothing about sheep. Keep the updates coming! It gives me something to read in the dark night when my little one is nursing back to sleep.

February 28, 2016 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger renee said...

I don't know if this is allowed but here is a video of one of the cows going into the maternity ward yesterday.
Good luck with the sheep

February 29, 2016 at 1:57 AM  
Blogger Erika Keller said...

Had two hours of sleep last night and still missed a lambing, triplets (one stillborn.) Don't know if I could have saved the lamb since I arrived soon after the birth. Now the mom, who successfully raised twins last year, does not want the lambs to nurse. I've had to halter her three times so far so they get the colostrum they so desperately need. Now their little bellies are full. Hopefully the mom will learn to accept her lambs after a few more feedings.

February 29, 2016 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Troll said...

So far kidding season s awarded us a set of twins and three singles with four of my does left to kid (one of which seems content to be as big as a house forever). We are also waiting on our Hampshire/Bluebutt sow, Loretta to farrow for the first time so we are making the rounds constantly to check on everyone. I'm turning 125 eggs three times a day in the incubator to hatch our first clutch of ducklings and our third of chicks for the year. We call it "busy season" here! I sit down just long enough to knock rocks out of my boots before I'm back outside in a pen or coop!

February 29, 2016 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger jules said...

We just, last week, had two litters of baby rabbits! 13 total. One had 11, one had 5. 3 died, we fostered three over and all are getting big and fat. They should have their eyes open in the next few days, and soon will be popping out of the nest boxes! Do you still have rabbits? How are they doing? You don't mention them much.

February 29, 2016 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

No lambs for me here this year. But with all the lambing talk, I will be breeding them next fall. I am looking for a Romney ram to breed my Finns with.

I do have 2 does ready to have kids in the next few weeks though. I am SO excited! I sold all my goats a few years ago. But missed having goats so much, I bought 2 does last year. This will be Olga's 1st time having kids and Freya's 2nd time. They are both Lamancha. So I hope to be back in the milk room soon! I am almost out of frozen milk for soap.

February 29, 2016 at 8:49 PM  

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