Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First Arrival

Just a bit of a surprise last night....
Last year's first lamb came about March 5th so I wasn't really expecting anyone any time soon.  Late yesterday afternoon I did notice a Tunis ewe who had separated herself and was laying on her side for a while but she got up and went on her way.  The thought crossed my mind that before long it will be lambing season so I'd better get some decent sleep in the next few weeks before things start.

Al went out about eight o'clock to finish up chores but soon returned.  He announced that we had the first lamb but that he didn't know who the mother was.  I told him about the light colored ewe I'd seen earlier in the day so we took a flashlight and went back out.  Al said he'd found Baloo with the lamb but no mother nearby.  The lamb was perfectly clean and dry.  Baloo was babysitting it.  After some searching, we came up with the mother.  Interestingly enough, the whole time we searched the lamb stood next to Baloo watching the process.  Baloo continued to lick at it and nudge it closer to himself.

We got mother and son into a stall.  The lamb was not only spotless, seemingly thanks to Baloo, but had a round little belly meaning he'd already eaten.  It seems Baloo did allow mother to give him a first meal before kidnapping the little guy.  We checked the ewe's udder and one side was already open.  I popped the wax plug out of the other side and after we'd seen the lamb nurse we left them alone.  Mother was gently licking his head as we tucked them into bed.

This morning when I checked on them they were just fine.  I  borrowed the lamb for just a minute to show to Baloo.  Mother was standing nearby. He enthusiastically began to lick it again.  He also shoved it to his far side so that he was between mother and "his" lamb.  I gave him just a brief visit and returned the lamb to its mother.  Baloo trotted happily out of the stable.

This was Baloo's first assist at a birth.  I am so glad that, even though he should not have really borrowed the lamb from the mother, he was not aggressive or hurtful.  Who knows what is to come but I do have a load of old towels in the laundry right now in preparation for upcoming births.  And Baloo is contentedly back with the rest of his crew.

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