Saturday, April 11, 2009

Finale

Today, 147 days from when she was put in Franjean's breeding group, Butter delivered a strapping ram lamb (with a little help from the shepherd).

Welcome to the world!

Come on; get up

Taken right after lamb's head got caught in the front of Butter's coat

Taken right before lamb's head got caught in the leg strap

Off with the sheep suit!

In the jug

Butter was reluctant to leave the fold this morning when I led the ewes and lambs to pasture, but did eventually follow the rest out, and once there, ate her grain. I watched her for awhile, and saw it twice - she squatted as if to pee but produced nothing. Then off she went into the woods seeking privacy, which the three gulmusketeers were reluctant to give her. I headed up to the house to inform my guys that I would not be going to church with them this morning and to get any supplies I might need out of Rick's truck (which he was going to drive because he's on call this weekend). Then I had the good sense to ask for help getting all the sheep back into the fold so I could pen up Butter, and then get the three gulmusketeers and their moms back out to pasture. Butter wasn't going to let me catch her, and without the gentle driving of Rick and Brian, I don't think she would have followed the others back to the fold. But finally the "sheep shuffle" was accomplished, with the older lambs and moms back on pasture, Butter laboring in the main area, and Brava and twins in the ram pen so I could strip and rebed the maternity ward for the new arrival(s). Rick and Brian went back to the house to get ready for church, and I started cleaning the maternity ward. Rick's parting words were, "I'd get in there and pull it (two hooves were showing); I don't like to let them sit too long if I'm around." Not wanting to be overzealous, I just watched while I mucked. Butter didn't make much progress, but she sure yelled a lot. Finally, I grabbed a halter, tied her up, and provided the necessary assistance. After a bit of stretching and pulling, it was apparent why she was having difficulty: the lamb was big - at least as big as Brava's bigger twin at nearly a week old - and had huge horn buds! While I fought disappointment over not getting a little gully girl or two, or a full-poll ram lamb, the guy's name came to me: Barabbas!

Butter immediately set to cleaning and talking to her boy, then started pawing at him to get him up. Once he did get up and started looking for breakfast, he managed to get his head up the front of Butter's coat, and then caught in a leg strap! Having just read on the Shetland list about a couple of newborn lambs getting strangled by baling twine, I didn't think twice before grabbing Butter and disrobing her. I'd rather have a messy fleece than a dead lamb!

Butter was NOT inclined to stand for nursing; instead she kept whirling around to keep him in front of her. So I haltered her again, and Barabbas eagerly dived in for a hearty meal from both sides. I held her a few more times to make sure her little lad got a jump start on energy, and finally took the halter off after I observed this:
Here is Beau in the same frame (scratching), for a size comparison.

Barabbas really is a good-looking boy with Heights Orion, Enfield Greyling, Greenholme Holly and Roban Dillon in his pedigree, and I expect he will have a knock-out fleece. No signs of Ag yet, but he could carry that and/or a modified gene. If someone is looking for a horned flock sire, keep an eye on this guy!Warning: flash makes things appear lighter than they are! :-)

Congratulations to Barbara, who won my lambing contest with the most accurate guess. She nailed the total number of lambs and ratio of rams to ewes. I'm glad I got more gulmoget-patterned lambs than the two she guessed, but wish the ratio of rams to ewes had been switched! Still, I have much to be thankful for, including: all my ewes lambed during the daytime; only one ewe - the yearling - needed any assistance; the ewes made it very clear that Franjean sired all; I got some different horn genotypes to compare in the four ram lambs; and there's already interest in some of the lambs (let me know if you're interested in one!).

That's it for lambing season at . . .

18 comments:

Kathleen Stoltzfus said...

Congratulations on a successful lambing season!

MiniKat said...

Congrats on another handsome lamb! How is Butter doing with all the changes and excitement?

Franna said...

Very good! Looks like Butter's illness didn't affect this guy's size! I'd been warned about coats and lambs; haven't had problems with the few I've left on, but it only takes one.

Very nice lamb flock. It will be interesting to compare the horn growth on your guys as they grow up.
- Franna

BAC said...

Hi Michelle...

Another fine looking lamb. It has been lots of fun watching all the new babies. Can't wait to watch them grow.
I can't believe I won your contest. Thank you! I will email my address.

Barbara

Becky Utecht said...

Congratulations Michelle - the best thing is getting through lambing season with all healthy lambs and ewes. I am always relieved when the last one arrives. I was glad to read that you removed the coat. He does have huge horn buds! It will be interesting to see how they grow.

Rayna said...

He sure looks nice! Congrats@

MISS PEACH ~(^.^)~ said...

An Easter lamb at Boulderneigh! I am so glad all went well.
Wishing you a glorious day...one and all.
Much love from Karla Dennis and Miss Peachy

Deb said...

A wonderful conclusion to a great lambing season for you :) You have some beautful lambies running around -
Have a wonderful Easter -

Kathleen said...

What a beautiful boy he is! And WOW, he IS big. But what color is he?

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Kathleen, for now he is "dark brown." That's as much as I'm willing to commit to at the moment; these Shetlands can give lots of surprises! His mom is Ag (a fader), and we think his dad is fawn (modified), so it will be interesting to see how he turns out. I would love to learn that Butter carries an Aa (solid) gene, instead of being Ag/Ag.

Terri D. said...

Congrats on all your lambs! You have a good looking bunch!

Wrensong Farm said...

I'm sorry that the new boy was a bit of a disappointment, but he sure is a handsome strapping boy!

Hope you and your family have a Happy Easter!! Tammy and the Wrensong crew

TigereyeSal said...

Congrats! What a fine batch- can you summarize your lambs for us again? I've lost track of how many, who, what colours, etc. Thanks!

Jenny Holden said...

Congrats on lovely lambs! I do love gulmogets, not likely to see any in my flock this time around though. Looks like Butter is living up to her name by those photos! She's carrying plenty of "condition"!! No wonder that tup lamb was huge, I'll bet he's a little cracker :o)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Yes Jenny, Butter held her condition well; I'm actually pleased! This is my first and maybe only time breeding a ewe lamb, so I made sure she got her share of grain in the last few weeks. Didn't want her shorted while she was growing a lamb....

Sally, here is the final tally:
Dinah begat Bronwen, a moorit gulmoget ewe lamb
Inky begat Blackberry, a black gulmoget ram lamb with krunet, and Bramble, a moorit gulmoget ewe lamb
Brava begat Beau, a solid moorit ram lamb, and Boo, a moorit gulmoget ram lamb
Butter begat Barabbas, a solid moorit ram lamb

The jury will be out for awhile on what colors these lambs actually are, because we think the sire's color is modified (fawn), Butter is Ag (musket), and Brava's color is still a toss-up between fawn and musket. And Blackberry has some silver coming it on his haunches, but shouldn't carry Ag so who knows WHAT is going on there!

An English Shepherd said...

Lovely pictures & very 'Easterie'

Easter wishes, Wizz :-)

Claire said...

Congratulations Michelle - what a wonderful lambing season you have had! I can only hope that my first lambing season will be as trouble-free as yours. We have 4 ewes to go... The horn buds on that lamb are remarkable! He's huge! Poor little Butter, I hope she is feeling better now that she has her youthful physique back!

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