Saturday, April 26, 2008

frigga (warning! lamb birthing pictures to follow)

olive had her lamb last weekend. i was worried about olive as she is such a small ewe. i had not intended to breed her this year, but it seemed she and pattur had other plans. i had separated them but there was a time in december where i came up in the morning to find the fence knocked over and everyone was together. i had to leave them that way for a day until we fixed the fence. and voila! about a month ago i realized olive was expecting.

so, she was under close watch as i waited for her lamb to come. i was thankful that it was early sunday morning; bright, sunny, warm and with the whole day ahead of us incase we needed the vet.

i knew she had started stage one of labor the day before. she was restless and laying down by herself a lot. but it wasn't until sunday morning that stage two was in full swing. she chose to lay down in the stall, so i just quietly closed her in there and watched and waited.

i was so relieved to find two front hooves and a little snout emerging

after a good deal of pushing, i realized the lamb was stuck! i had seen this level of 'stuck' before when i did the lambing week at the heifer project. i paged the vet and decided to try helping why i waited. i was able to carefully get the head 'unstuck'. but then the next few pushes were pretty futile. nothing was moving. i could tell this was a BIG lamb. so i decided to pull. at this point i think i have about every single lamb pulling technique and malpresentation problem memorized from this book, so i was fairly confident on what i wanted to do. i wanted to get one leg free so to angle the lambs shoulders making it as narrow as possible. thankfully it worked. as i pulled one leg forward and down, the lamb was instantly freed! with the next push there was a whole lot of lamb and olive took a break so i grabbed my camera:

then the next push and she was out. what a relief.

introducing frigga, a grey ewe lamb:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

fast grow the lambs*

my second year of lambing is turning out to be much more successful than my first. (a strong conclusion to draw from n=2, i know) i certainly learned a lot from last year's 'when everything goes wrong' experience. this year, i found myself much more prepared and much more confident. still, there was a good deal of nail biting and worrying. there still is. but, i am happy to report the twins are thriving....



it is amazing how fast they learn from watching mom. at two weeks old, bjorn has figured out how to drink from a bucket. they both try to eat hay whenever freyja eats--it is the sweetest thing to watch.

freyja never did warm up to letting them nurse. she mothers them, tolerates them, and seems totally interested in them BUT she just won't stand for them to nurse. ever. not for a second. it is a maddening problem! i have to hold her for them to eat. many times a day. hence the continued worrying. are they getting enough? do they get ANY nursing in when i am not there? ugh. so, on any given day, you will see me climbing into their pen for some hardcore nursing sessions. at midnight in my pajamas (below) or right before i leave for work in a skirt and cute shoes. why yes, that IS a tuft of wool on my shoulder...

it is such a relief to see this little butt sticking out and the tail wagging furiously...

it can only mean suckling is successful!

*this title is totally stolen from one of my favorite garden/farm blogs fast grow the weeds

Saturday, April 05, 2008


freyja had twin lambs this year. since last year's lambing didn't go so well (she rejected, and i eventually lost her bottle lamb to bloat) i kept a close eye. which means i slept two hours last night.

the delivery went well and the lambs were born feisty and ready for life. it was wet and cold last night, so after about an hour of not getting a chance to nurse i decided to intervene. i was able to tube a good amount of colostrum into each of them and then help them nurse by holding freyja still. she wants to be a mom this year, but she is a little too distracted and won't hold still for them to nurse. hopefully, as they get stronger over the next 24 hrs, they will get faster and steadier at nursing a moving target. for now, we will assist to make sure they are eating every couple of hours.

they are lovely lambs--a black/grey ram lamb and a moorit/grey ewe lamb. great fleece colors. even though they are solid black and moorit, you can tell they will be grey by their 'sugar lips'--the little patch of white on their mouths.