Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Amongst mothers

We are grateful for the sun and warmer weather, to help our lambing week along. These are Fern's lambs, now one week old.

We had hoped more of the girls would lamb this weekend - perfect weather. I knew everyone of the 5 ewes was ready to pop, but I like to keep them up and atom until they really go down into labor. The new mothers can surprise you though - I once had a new mom waddling casually back to the barn with her baby half way out.

So last night I was pretty sure Nelly Moser would lamb. And she did. I have been somewhat concerned about what type of mother Nelly would be- of all our sheep she is somewhat flighty.

Arriving at the barn, there she was with two fresh lambs, probably born around 8 am. But she wasn't caring to them very proficiently- she wasn't licking them or chortling much. One was quite dopey looking and chilled, not a good sign. I checked her udder and she had milk, and both ram lambs did suck on my finger, another good sign. I opted not to tube them [a procedure where you insert a stomach tube and force feed], and gave him milk from my finger instead. I decided to take them outside since it is sunny and much warmer outside than the cool barn. Nelly was just a bit clueless, but she's adapting. She is chortling more, and can get them to the udder, but she's not as good as the pros at helping them 'get it". She did not dry them off well either, and I had to step in and help. Within a half hour, I had them warmed up, thanks to the towel and the sun.

We will just have to watch them and see. In the last 3 hours, I think both mother and lambs are adjusting to the newness of everything.

And the other girls wait...here's Lilly, who I'm sure will go soon. In fact, they are all showing signs of pending labor.