~ Cedar Pond's Tilda with her newborn blue-eyed lambs. ~
What is that verse about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb ? My March has come in with a lamb storm. In the first three days of March , 7 of my ewes ( female sheep ) gave birth to 9 lambs. I have never had so many sheep give birth at the same time. I did not have enough lambing pens set up for so much action.
A lambing pen, or jug, is a small pen set up to contain a mama and her lamb(s) for at least a day, sometimes 2 or 3 days depending on the sheep. This enables the mama and lamb to bond while giving the shepherd the time to make sure all is well with them, band the lamb's tail, worm the mama. I usually give the new mama warm water with molasses or other nutritional supplements in her water and extra alfalfa. I also make sure she has expelled her afterbirth.
~ Cedar Pond's Tovah cleaning her newly born lamb.~
On March 2 I went outdoors in the morning and discovered Tilda had already had twins and had them cleaned and nursing. Great ! I had a clean pen ready for her and her lambs and after spraying the lambs' umbilical cords with iodine I moved them and their mama to the pen with a small bucket of fresh water and alfalfa hay. Tilda's blue-eyed lambs were up and nursing her so I knew everything was fine. I went indoors to get some housework done.
45 minutes later I went outdoors to check on Tilda and discovered Gudrid was having lambs. She'd already had one lamb and cleaned it off and another was on the way. Oh no, I had two small pens set up and they had mamas with twins in them and now I had another set of twins, where was I going to put them ? Thinking quickly I ran out to the storage shed and carted a large dog kennel panel to Tilda's pen and tied it in the middle as a divider, making 2 pens out of the one. Then I gathered the lambs (with Gudrid trying to gore me for taking her lambs) and settled them into their new pen with their mama. Whew , I was so sore from the hard physical work this had become. But the lambs were healthy and I now had 3 mamas , counting Buttercup and her twins born earlier, all settled. Now I knew I could take a break, maybe finish my cup of cold coffee.
I went to the feed store shortly after getting the mama and lambs settled , came home about an hour later and getting out of the car I heard a sheep bawling and screaming. Oh no, there was Sassafras in the sheep stall with 2 little lamb's feet sticking out of her and she couldn't push he lamb out. So I had to catch her ( because what sheep wants to be handled when she is in pain ? ) and pin her against the stall wall and hang onto her with one hand, whilst I put my other hand inside her to assess the situation. Sure enough, it was a big lamb who's head was trying to exit Sassafras the same time as the front feet. That was NOT going to happen. I had to slip my hand past the lamb's head , push it back a little and then pull the slippery lamb's feet out far enough to then grip the legs and pull hard. I don't know how I managed this , but I did. The lamb slid out and Sassafras immediately began cleaning her little girl lamb off. Now where was I going to put her ?
~ Cedar Pond's Tasha and ewe lamb.~
I got creative with kennel panels and baling twine and had everyone housed and then... you guessed it, within the next 36 hours it was bam, bam, bam...lambs! I have been so sore in the evenings from all the physical work required I have been going to bed early ( for me ) after already snoozing on the sofa after dinner. Good grief, I must be getting older.
I am thankful to say thus far all my ewes have recovered nicely from giving birth to healthy and very cute lambs. Today my husband helped me band the tails of the last two lambs born, and the mamas with lambs have been released from their small lambing pens to mingle with each other while the lambs are bouncing, and leaping with the joy of new life. Now only two more ewes to give birth , what bounty for me this year. March came in like a lamb, and a lamb, and a lamb...