Katahdins-always eating... The lamb first tries to standWell, finally, the first, accidental lambs of the season arrived today. I was working from home, so was able to check-in on them a few times, though no help was needed from me. First, a 7.7 lb ewelamb. A spunky little thing. Growing lambs, like all baby mammals, like to do a lot of hopping and jumping in play; gaining physical strength and skill by performing elaborate bronco side kicks, lateral jumps, and other fancy freestyle leaps (about half of which end in ungraceful belly flops). Usually they don’t start doing this until they are several days old. But this little lamb was already doing them before she even had her first drink of milk!

Other ewes, looking onShe was hunting all about for the teat, as lambs ought to do. I think newborn lambs maybe don’t see that well in the first hour or so, so they tend to do most of their hunting by feel, sound and smell. Their instinct tells them to feel along crevices with their nose and lips, which makes sense, as they are looking for that crevice between the thigh and the udder. They often get it wrong and go for the armpit of the ewe, at first.

This lamb was nuzzling along all the crevices of the pen gates and corners, nosing the rooster, bumping into my legs, and looking everywhere for the target. I left them for a Pay no attention to the rooster in the lambing jughalf hour, and went to check on them again; only to walk in the barn to a bellowing mama standing on her tippy toes on the pen slats, looking around with alarm for her baby. And, a lamb casually wandering about loose in the barn, still looking for a teat! She had slipped through a poorly-shut corner of the jug and was on the move, expanding her search into a fifty-foot radius. I reunited them, and all was well, the lamb found what she was looking for soon after.

After 45 minutes, I lamented that it looked like the ewe had singled. She hadn’t looked that big, and this was such an early breeding, I was resigned to potentially lower fertility. But, just then came a second set of white-socked feet, followed by a ram lamb, backwards. An eight-p0under this time. He was up on his feet in no time as well. He is a bobtail. I get quite a few sheep with fairly short tails, and a few with permanent kinks in the tail ends; but this is the most extreme combination of both I’ve seen. I consider it a don’t-care in a meat animal, but it’s a curious trait!Perfect mama stance

Meanwhile, the ewelamb, flush with colostrum energy, started displaying another physical feat: the instinctive behavior chain to back wayyyy up, then rush forward, head lowered (at her only perceived play opponent, her dam) as if to do a massive head-butt (like rams do when they are battling each other). Such grown-up behavior for being only an hour old! Amazing to think she already had the dexterity to walk backwards in a straight line, then reverse course and charge with abandon. I reckon I needn’t worry about this lamb’s vigor or survival ability, she seems to be taking post-womb life by storm. Winking smile

These lambs are a little smaller than I’d like, but I realize I should cut this ewe a break. She’s not quite two years old, and lambed less than ten months ago. She bred-back just after weaning her first lamb, when she was still lean from milk production. So not a lot of turnaround time to regain condition and get ready for delivering twins! This year, if I do a better job of locking gates, she’ll have some extra time off to fatten herself on summer grass before breeding time in November.

Bobtail lamb

The young family is doing fine. Good sheep make it all look so easy. Now if that white tankard in the next-door jug would get those buns out of the oven, I can relax until the end of Feb, when more accidents are theoretically due!