Thursday, March 5, 2015

Almost Lost One

A week ago today we had another episode of weather. We'd had a combination of rainy snow through the night. My sweet husband, Al, had done his 5 a.m. walk around & all was well so he went on to work. I  was just trying to get some things done in the house but kept having the feeling that I ought to go out to do my usual chores a little early. I headed out, glanced across the first pasture & laughed at myself when I hesitated because a pile of snow seemed almost lamb-shaped. No sheep were around it so it obviously couldn't be a lamb. I took a few more steps, glanced over again & just wasn't sure. I put down the egg bucket I was carrying & walked over to the fence. There was a lamb laying in a puddle. I raced through the closest gate, swooped the little thing up, stuck it inside my coat & glanced around. About twenty feet away I noticed that #802, a Romney ewe, was busy cleaning up a lamb. It seemed I had a twin tucked in my coat. I took the lamb over to #802 but she was interested in her newest lamb. I put him right at her face & she did take a look at him. I was encouraged that she didn't shove him away. I was also glad to see that she'd taken some time to clean him up initially before she stopped to deliver brother.
I called Al at work to let him know what was going on. He is fairly flexible so offered to come home to give me a hand moving the new family through many gates & into the stable. I took a few more pictures as I waited on him. It was pretty obvious that mama was not worried about her first lamb.
He was cold but strong & fighting for some attention.
His brother was not as thoroughly cleaned but mama was busy helping him get situated to nurse.

Al & I got them all into the stable & we put them under a heat lamp. I spent extra time working the outcast brother over with a dry towel. 
Brother #1 was too cold to try to nurse & at that point mama's colostrum was just coming in. To make a long story short, I ran to a friend's for frozen colostrum & started the little fellow on a bottle. I usually keep a supply here but had run out. The time that I was on the road gave #1 a chance to warm up even more so that he was ready to be able to take a bottle when I got back. 

We have had many bottle lambs through the years but would much prefer that mama raise her young. We left the little fellow out with his mother & brother & brought him a bottle every few hours. After a few days of noticing how well they were all getting along, I decided to try one more time to get him back on mama. At bottle time, Al & I both went to the stable. Al held mama as I laid on the ground & worked hard to stick #1 on a teat. It took some work but after about 10 tries the little fellow finally latched on & I could hear him nursing. He was even wagging his tail - an almost sure sign that he was actually getting milk. We watched him very closely. He was up under mama as often as his brother. He quit crying for us when he heard us come into the stable. He began to fill out. After 6 days of very close supervision, we let the little family out of the stable to explore.
So far, so good. Mama loves & feeds both of them.
And we still tell the boys apart by who is the clean one & who is the dirty one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Little Winter

We did get sleet & ice last night. We also got a new lamb. Al found the little one at five this morning & assumed her to be about an hour old. Mama was doing a great job with her. Al tucked them both safely in a stall with lots of fresh hay & water. I waited until almost daylight to go out & take a few pictures. It was dark in the stable even with a few small lights on so I simply set the flash on my camera, pointed in the general direction of ewe & lamb & just shot away. I managed to get a few decent pictures.
Although I never got a good picture of the little eweling standing up, I can report that she has some crazy long legs. Her little belly is full & mama is very attentive & sweet to her.
We had a bit of damage to the big dog kennel as a large pine branch came crashing down into it. We only use that kennel when we babysit our children's dogs for short visits. The kennel was empty & we have time to repair it so no complaints.

We also had some pine branches down throughout the pastures. The sheep & sweet little Ralphie, the goat, were already hard at work on clean up.
This sweet sheep was just trying to ignore the whole thing.

Gwen was tucked away in the old barn. Again, I had to just sort of point & shoot in the dark to get a picture of her. She was just wagging her tail & grinning. We'd let the back sheep into the old barn for the night so Gwen had obviously chosen a high perch to keep track of the flock.
Once I was sure that all of the animals were safe & sound, I did take a few pictures of the ice. It really  was beautiful.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Last week as I was walking in from gathering eggs I noticed that Ravi, one of our Anatolian Shepherds, was perched on top of a round bale in the front yard. I had one egg that had a small crack in its shell so I handed it over to him. He very delicately nibbled away the end of the shell and enjoyed eating the raw egg.
I went out today to gather eggs & discovered Ravi resting in the tractor shed. Since all of our chickens are free range egg gathering can be a bit of an Easter egg hunt! We do have nest boxes in several buildings around the farm. Those buildings have small openings where the chickens can come & go all day but the dogs cannot get in to steal eggs. Many chickens lay there but some of the gals are a bit more random with their laying. Someone had made a little temporary nest in the hay on the floor & had laid an egg just a few feet from Ravi. 
He was ignoring the egg when I noticed it. I asked him if he knew it was there & this was his response:
I laughed at him, added the egg to my bucket & walked around behind him to look at the little nest that a few of the gals share between some of the square bales that we loaded in last week. This is what I noticed as I walked behind Ravi.
I added that egg to my bucket as well. I attribute my lucky finds to the fact that Ravi had already had a nice breakfast & was more busy sleeping it off than seeking out a midmorning snack.