#LAMBMETRICS for the day
Drysdale & English Leicester Flocks
Born today: 5
Total Lambs Born: 15
Drysdale lambs (live total): 9
English Leicester lambs (live total): 5
English Leicester X lambs (live total): 0
Total Sets of Twins born: 5
Total Sets of Triplets born: 0
Total ewe lambs: 9
Total ram lambs: 6
Ewes lambed /76: 10 (13.1 %)
Lamb % : 140 % [live]
Losses: 1 [lamb]; 0 [ewe]
Notable Midwifery tales:
Today’s adventures actually started last night after the blog had been written.
I’d gone down to the workshop and I could hear, what I presumed was, an English Leicester being very vocal. Given that I tell the girls regularly that if they are in trouble they need to “yell out and put a hoof up” I thought it prudent to go and check. I don’t normally check them at night because they really don’t need me at night very much at all.
But….. I arrived in the bright moonlight to discover that a Drysdale ewe had lambed and there was an English Leicester ewe with her and there were two lambs. Oh, I thought, they’re getting muddled.
Hmmm. Not quite.
Turns out that the two lambs were twins and the Drysdale was their mother. The English Leicester had a lamb “on the way” but what’s a couple of “easy pickings” ?!
So, torch parked precariously in the coat pocket as I pick up and carry the lambs towards the gate to get them out of the Night Paddock. Their mother was nudging me with her head occasionally and I had speak very firmly with her because I didn’t want to end up on my face (and on top of her two lambs!) with her barging around my legs. Good mother but…!!
Managed to get the lambs – and their real mother – out the gate, leaving the English Leicester dolefully baa-ing on the other side of the fence. I offered to get her lamb out so she could really have her own but she decided she wasn’t really in a rush after all and took off down the paddock – with no more carry on. Catching a ewe that sprightly in the dark among all those other heavily pregnant ewes wasn’t my idea of a good plan so made the executive decision that she wasn’t as far along as she had first suggested.
Good decision in the end. I got a good sleep and arrived in this morning to find her very smugly with a lovely new lamb of her own.
This morning revealed not just the English Leicester lamb but also another set of Drysdale twins.
And then on to check the ladies and lambs in the shed. The English Leicesters were very cosy but still very happy to go out in the sunshine.
Meanwhile, remember Sleepy McFluffFace from the other day?
Look at him now. 🙂
And then I let the poor ewe, who had lost her lamb yesterday, out of the shed too. She was checking out the other lambs and was a bit miserable but there wasn’t anything I could do.
Headed off to check the Merino and Castledale ewes (that have finally started popping out lambs) and straight away come across a first-time Castledale ewe that seemed agitated. Getting closer it was apparent she had twins but was rejecting one and continually butted it away from her. And then she wouldn’t stand still to let the other little one drink. Argh. Left her for a while to continue rounds in case there was an emergency.
Discovered, in the Twins Paddock, that a Merino ewe and a Castledale ewe had each had twins and had them close to each other and so there was a general hubbub with lambs everywhere and mothers really confused. I didn’t seem to be able to help much as the ewes were flighty so decided to let them sort it out – as long as all the lambs get fed I don’t care who feeds them!! Just goes to show though how easily they get mixed up and we don’t always realise.
Meanwhile, the maiden ewe was standing up to the dog and both lambs were getting a drink while she was distracted which was great but as soon as the pressure was off she went back to whacking the first lamb.
So, they all went closer to the shed. The ewe was very very good – much better than I expected her to be and followed the lamb that I carried. So far, so good. Left her with the small lamb just inside the gate and then took the loud lamb to introduce her to the bereft Drysdale ewe.
Alas, despite coming up to me with hope in her eyes, the Drysdale ewe checked over the lamb and her response was “meh, not mine”. Well, it was a very off chance that she’d be desperate enough (not impossible but not likely).
There is still one old shepherd’s trick though for grafting a lamb onto a ewe that has lost a lamb – the lamb pelt maneuver.
Always “worth a shot”. Worse case scenario is ending up with a bottle-fed lamb.
It’s a bit icky to have to skin the dead lamb and put it on the live one but it can be very successful. Ewes that have licked a lamb clean will always recognise them afterwards from the taste/smell.
Round 2 in the paddock: calling the ewe and she didn’t want to come this time. “You called me last time and it wasn’t my lamb.” So I had to employ Border Collie persuasion to get the ewe up towards where I had left the “disguised” Castledale lamb.
Then I held my breath.
(And took photos)
One very happy ewe this evening.
One very happy lamb.
One very happy Shepherdess.