We have a favorite ewe. Her name is Curious because she is always the first to the gate and the first to check things out. If you sit or stand in the sheep pen, she will approach you, sniff you, and nibble on your sleeve. She may even let you pet her on the head. We’ve been expecting her to give birth for weeks now. We’ve had many false alarms where we were positive “this is the day”. We don’t know when our ewes were bred so it has been hard to know for sure when lambing would occur. Our first lamb surprised us Feb 5th. Our next lamb surprised us Feb 26th. As ewes get close to lambing their udders fill up. Their girl parts start to swell and turn pink. The ewes will start stomping when they feel threatened (like when a Rosie dog approaches). These changes can occur up to two weeks before lambing. It is like watching a pot boil.
Friday night, hubby went down to bottle feed our calves. He called to let me know “something is definitely going on. I think”. We laugh because we have been so bad at guessing. We’ve rushed down to check on those girls so many times and have had disappointment every time. I went down to check things out and yes, this time it was obvious. Curious didn’t come to the gate. She stood off by herself. Her girl parts were very swollen and there was about an inch opening!
We could see her contractions come, each one causing her to tense up, lift her tail, and pant her way through the pain. She handled the waves very well. There were times where she stomped through a contraction but you could tell she had full control. I warned hubby to not pick up her leg as I vaguely remember him trying to do for me when I was in transition. He reminded me that I gruffly told him to “move!” at one point during my own labor. Oh the good times! Anyways, we stood there for about thirty minutes, then decided to give her some privacy. We went back to the house, watched an episode of Mountain Men, then returned down to the barn around 10:00 pm. Status quo. She continued to work. They don’t call it labor for nothing.
We watched for another twenty minutes before we decided to go to bed. I set my alarm for 2.5 hours later (1:00 am). I would check then. Hubby would check later in the morning if I had nothing to report.
I popped out of bed at 1 am, bundled up, and headed to the barn. I walked in and Curious had one baby already nursing and another one on the ground. I must have just missed the birth!
The second baby was still covered in blood and goo and laying down. Curious was cleaning the already standing lamb. I just stood there for several minutes watching, not wanting to interfere. I took a video of the new lamb trying to stand. She eventually stood after about 30 minutes.
I called hubby, who came down to see the new lambs. We carried the second baby into the jug (separate pen for new moms and their babies). Curious walked right in and so did the first baby. Both babies were able to nurse so we left Curious to finish her mothering while we gave her fresh water, hay, and grain. The next day we checked for gender and found we have one boy and one girl.
Well done, Curious!