Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lambs, Lambs, and More Lambs

Yesterday, Cocoa had a set of twin, black, ram lambs. At about 3 in the afternoon, Greg came in and said she was in the side paddock and it looked like she was in labor. So, I went running out. She was standing and then layed down by the tree. Solomon, the ram, was bothering her a little bit, so I headed out to chase him away from her. As I was going through the barn, Greg called out that she was on her feet and the lamb had fallen out. I got out to the paddock in time to see Solomon chasing her around, so I hustled him out of the paddock and shut the gate. Meanwhile, Cocoa headed back to her lamb. It looked like she had another one coming out, but then she sat down against the fence, so we thought it must have just been the afterbirth we had seen. She proceeded to lick and clean her baby, but she wouldn't stand up to let him nurse, and he was sure looking for the milk bar! So, I went and got her some molasses water with electrolytes, and when I got up close to her with it, I saw a little lamb nose sticking out from under her rump. Just as I got over to her, she got up to get the water, and I saw the lamb just laying there, still in his sack. I thought it was dead, but it moved its head ever so slightly, so I gave it a little nudge and rubbed him a bit. Then he really started to move and Cocoa came running over and started licking him. He really struggled for a long time to get up. It was so hard not to get in there and help him out, but I resisted. I try to take a very hands-off approach and have read before that if creatures aren't left to struggle to do what they are intended to do, they will be weak and may not thrive, so I stayed away and left him to figure it out. He finally did make it to his feet, and today he is just as alert and active as his big brother. Cocoa is a two-year-old, first time mother. She is not quite as attentive as the older, more experienced ewes, but all bellies have been full at every belly check! Here I am keeping an eye on the situation! This is Cocoa and her boys today. We've named them Hershey and Nestle because their momma is Cocoa! Here is a picture of Daisy and her single ewe lamb, Whoppers. Whoppers was a big girl at birth, weighing over ten lbs. She was born two weeks ago, just two days after the triplets were born. This is Daisy and Whoppers today. You can see how much she's grown already. Zuma's triplets have really grown, too. Compared to the new babies, they are quite roly-poly! We named them, collectively, The Three Musketeers! The ewe is Porthos and the two rams are Athos and Aramis. This morning when Greg went out to let the sheep out of the barn, he discovered that Shula had a white lamb with her. She was huge and I couldn't believe she only had a single, which wasn't all that big. I looked around and saw a black lamb, laying dead on the ground by the wall. Both were ram lambs. It was very sad, but, thankfully, the white one was healthy and doing well. This little guy has a lot riding on his shoulders. Since he was not sired by our Solomon, he is to be the ram for our next breeding group. His name is Zero, after the white candy bar. I call him "Zero my Hero"! And here's a little video of little Mr. Zero doing his little lamb job!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Starting Out With A Bang!

Yesterday we came home from attending church and picking up a few supplies and found that Zuma (named by our granddaughter, Sophia) had given us our first lambs on Cavalli Run. At first Greg saw one lamb, so he came to get me in the house where I was putting stuff away. We headed out to the pasture and, as we got closer, we saw a lamb standing next to her by the hay bale. The closer we got, the more lambs we saw. When we finally reached a spot where we could see on the other side of her, we saw that she had triplets! Three little black lambs!

She still had her afterbirth attatched so we decided to go away and leave her to bond with her babies. We saw that they were all nursing, so we just wanted to give them some time. I brought out a bucket of water with molasses and some eloctrolytes for momma, and she just guzzled it! While she was drinking, I bent down and got a look under the lambs and saw that she had two little ram lambs and one ewe lamb.

As it got closer to evening, we wanted to bring them all up to the barn. We tried luring her with some sweet feed, but she wanted to stick pretty close to that bale. So, we ended up picking up the lambs and carrying them back to the barn. Zuma followed right on my heels. We weighed them and checked them over. They weighed in at 6.6 lbs, 6 lbs even, and the little girl weighed 5.8 lbs. Good weights for triplets!
This morning we went out and tagged their ears first thing. The first one went well, the second one was harder for some reason. I couldn't get the tagger to squeeze together completely, so I switched it to the other ear and got it in there. By then my hands were shaking because I felt so bad! The last one was a little tough, too, but I got it in. Here's a little video where you can see their new jewelry!

I checked bellies tonight and everyone had a full tummy. I have been told that sometimes with triplets one of them may not get enough milk. So far, they seem to be doing just fine, but we will keep our eyes on them.
It has been a very exciting couple of days. I wonder who will be next?