Lambing is humming along now, with 34 lambs born of 18 ewes, and 16 ewes left to deliver. I took last week and this week off from work in order to manage (and enjoy) the chaos. So far, not too many things of note. The weather is fabulous, which always helps; both for lamb survival and my enjoyment! The ewes are delivering easily, almost all completely unaided. And, so far, mostly nice, big, vigorous lambs (but not too big). I think my feeding experiment may be playing out in improving birth weight averages; but we’ll see when I get all the data.

WideLoadMy conception rate is a little down- a few ewes that have had triplets in the past only had twins, and a few that were sure twinners had singles. So this may be the end of my no-flushing experiment. But again, I’ll wait to make the call until I see the final numbers.

Bronte was fenced outside the hotwire, because I worry about her enthusiasm for lambs. But Kirk witnessed her warding off a bald eagle, up on two legs like a grizzly bear, he said. And the next day I had a big raven pecking at a newborn lamb. So Bronte got to move inside the fence, much to her absolute thrill. So far, she’s doing well in bottling up her excitement, and the ewes are tolerating her coziness. With every birth, she is right in there licking off the babies and munching on afterbirth. A few times I have seen her tense and issue a tiny growl at the mama- this is what worries me, is the temptation to steal a lamb for her own. But some sharp words from me have curtailed that notion for now.

BronteI haven’t lost any lambs yet (other than the early abort), though I had two weak ones that needed fast intervention to get them going, or they surely would have perished after birth. It’s amazing what a heat source and a tiny feeding of colostrum will do to a weak and chilled lamb.

FeetEmergenceI had one ewe deliver a breach (butt first)- before I could prepare to go in and rearrange it, out it came with a rush of blood! She was a yearling ewe, to boot, but the lamb was small, so she managed to break the rules and deliver in this “impossible” way. I was concerned about her measurable bleeding, especially because it renewed when a twin lamb followed. But she ended up OK. What a way to have your first baby!SlimeyI had one ewe consider rejecting a tiny twin in favor of the larger sibling. I put all three in a jug to watch. The mama will allow the lamb to nurse, but does not want to see it, and she’ll butt it and knock it over if it crosses her field of vision. The little lamb seemed to lament this emotional rejection the first day and cried a lot. I could feel her belly was full of milk, so I knew she wasn’t hungry. But the mother would not utter a peep in answer to the baby’s cries (normally mamas always echo back when their babies talk). So the lamb is going to have to be responsible for her own whereabouts. She seems to have reconciled with her situation, she keeps herself in the rear 180 degrees of the ewe, eats all she wants, and is doing fine. Strange what nature does sometimes.

NewbornI have an interesting crippled lamb, but that’s a story for a whole post in itself. Other than helping him get up to nurse on his mother, I have no bottle lambs yet. Such a luxury, we’ll see if it lasts!

BigDogI haven’t had time to take any pictures, but Kirk did, these are his! One of the rare times I am in the frame! This is a sequence of a ewe delivering twins. With a big crowd: two people, a doofus dog, and the llama inspector. She handled the attention with aplomb.

NewMama

I weigh every lamb with a fish scale and a sling.

Weighing

The llama is very curious about newborns, and very aware of when they come. She usually saunters over after they are up and about, and gives them a good sniffing.

LlamaInspection

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