I should probably call it lambing weekend, not season, but since I had one that was bread almost 2 months later I’m still calling it season! Since we are AI:ing (artificially inseminating) we have the luxury of being able to pretty much pinpoint when our ewes are due. In spite of that, the official due date came… and went. As did the next day. My poor little ewe who had had a vaginal prolapse a month before was being watched over in hawk-like manner so we could remove the stich (more of like a 5mm band) that was put in to prevent her from prolapsing again. The same stitch would also would prevent her from lambing if it wasn’t taken out when needed. Our vet had painted a horror picture if we weren’t able to remove it in time. If we took it out too late, or missed her labor she could be ripping everything apart damaging herself severely and potentially lose the lamb. If it was taken out too early she risked prolapsing again prior to delivering. If that happened the prolapse would prevent the lamb from being born and she would need to get to the animal hospital an hour away for an emergency c-section. There was also risk of her uterus prolapsing after the lamb was born. Non of these scenarios were ok with me, and I was “a little” frantic. In order to be able to monitor properly the sheep were all moved up top to temporary lambing pens under our deck over nights. I spent the nights on the couch checking the ewes every or every other hour. Thankfully Scott is a master at whipping up necessary shelters as we need them. They ended up with roomy and large lambing pens! In the pictures you can see the pens as they are getting built, with the door in the middle. This set up gave us 3 areas, so they could see each other and / or be separated as needed.
FINALLY the moment arrived- I spent all day Saturday watching Alma (the prolapse ewe), and was relieved to see her going into labor Saturday afternoon. Boy was I happy she was the first one to go into labor. We removed the stitch once she started pushing in earnest. Everything went like textbook and she had a set of beautiful twins, one girl, one boy. No additional prolapse, big – no HUGE sigh of relief. These are her last babies since we can’t breed her again as she most definitely will prolapse again. What a way to finish! Cici and Cotton, welcome to Gratitude Acres. I’m thrilled to say that Alma, along with Cotton and two other of our boys are going to their new forever home together. 16 acres of grass… shhhh… don’t tell the others!!
Cici and Cotton within an hour of being born. Mom is still cleaning them up.
No additional babies came over night, but the following morning Anna did a repeat sneak birth- same as she did last year. Seems like she wants her privacy and she obviously is very capable. In the 2 hours between Scott checking and me coming back down Anna was laying there with a big strong boy by her side. Cheston was born!
I love the way Cheston is looking at Annika.. only a couple of hours old and already trying to figure everything out!
Lunch time came and so did Scott’s mom and Don. Due to COVID this was our first visit since before Thanksgiving, and it was SO nice to see their smiling faces. They ooh:d and aah:d over our our twins and of course Astrid decided it was time for her to go into labor and spoil the party. This was her first time becoming a mama and I wasn’t sure how she would do. Astrid who didn’t get pregnant last year, ended up delivering the cutest set of twin boys! Yay Astrid, way to make up for last year!! She is also a wonderful mom while still being patient with all the other lambs.
After 5 nights on the couch Scott rode in on his white horse and took the night shift which was a welcome relief. Still no lambs, and Allie looked as comfortable as ever in spite of some huffing and puffing and being huge. After taking almost a week off work, it was time to go back, so I sternly instructed her to hold on while I was at work- which she did. That evening she finally went into labor and had a first a boy and wohoo- another girl was born! Bookend girls, the first and the last of that group! The boy was named Casper-not a ghost, but SOOO friendly! And the little girl? Coco Chanel since she likes to accessorize. At our last night check, she was found walking around with mom’s placenta draped evenly over her neck. Not my choice of jewelry, but Scott liked Coco so she was named Coco Chanel. The March batch of lambs were done.
Allie is so in love with her little ones; here she is with Coco. Check those black legs out… she’s adorable!
Then May FINALLY came and our very own Buttecrup was up. She held on a few extra days so she could deliver on Mother’s Day! Buttercup seemed a little confused and didn’t want any of us close, but she also did have no idea what was happening. In spite of that, she did what all the other mamas had done. She got up and down. She pawed the ground. She walked in circles. She baahd. And then she finally started pushing. After 30 minutes she delivered Gratitude Acres’ FIRST F2. A little girl my daughter promptly named Carolina. An F2 means it’s a second generation breed up lamb, 75% Valais Blacknose Sheep. And…lambing season is OVER for this year! And already my head is spinning trying to plan for the fall and next year’s lambing results.
I’m so amazed over the difference between the markings of an F1 versus an F2. She’s a cutie for sure and the other lambs have already lined up to greet her!
Going from 2 little Blacknose lambs last year to EIGHT this year was nothing less but amazing. To see them running around with each other, jumping, playing… my heart is full!