Friday, March 31, 2023

More black beauties!

Yesterday afternoon I got home from work early and turned the diminishing number of ewes-not-rearing-lambs out on pasture. Bette wasn't interested in grazing, though; she had other things on her mind.

Time to do some consolidating. I moved Bridget and Bridger into the nursery stall. That upset the fruit basket, but it's a big enough space that I figured all three ewes could keep their precious charge(s) safe from the riff-raff other ewes and lambs.

Then I brought the pasture group in, installed Bette in the corner lambing pen – and left for agility class with Poppy! I figured there was no point in wasting time already paid for and it would keep me from hovering uselessly while Bette got on with it. Video proof – and a break from sheep for those who need one:

I drove straight to the Sheep Sheraton upon arriving home, certain that there would be surprises waiting for me. Sure enough, Bette had twin black ewe lambs!

This morning, both girls were spunky. I sat on a small stool to watch, get acquainted, take photos and video, and finalize names. They are very similar; one has a minimal spray of white hairs on the top of her noggin (which she may lose) and a sleeker, shinier face. She got dubbed Bitta Flash, and her sister is Bonnie Lass.

that's Bette's 2022 daughter Boop in the background


So that evens up the number of girls to boys, all of them black-based so far which just amazes me. Since Bree, Bridget and Bette are brown-based and Spot is black but carries brown, the lambs from those ewes only have a 25% chance of being black. (Blaise is black and carries brown, so her lambs have a 50% chance of being black.) I'm thrilled with all of them, and am impatiently waiting to see what Bernadette produces (although I'm not sure where I'd put her at the moment). Lots of chrome like her daughter Broadway would be a grand finale!

Just to show that not ALL the black beauties around here are lambs and Poppy, here is Stella during turnout today:

BTW, March is going out like a lion at . . .

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Surprises and watched pots

As I approached the barn to do chores Sunday morning, sheep started talking to me . . . then I heard a distinct "mama voice." I quickly looked over the gate and saw Bree(!) laying down along the back wall, murmuring at a lamb at her back end, still half-covered by amniotic sack with umbilical cord attached. I detached the little fellow and moved him to Bree's head so she could lick him off and bond, scurried around completing chores, and then moved mother and son to the nursery stall. Bree's udder, like Blaise's, wasn't very full  and I couldn't strip any milk by hand, so I called Rick on my cell phone to see if giving her a shot of oxytocin might help. He came down and was able to express some milk; together we made sure the little fellow latched on, and left them to it.

So, two ewes surprised me by lambing last weekend without the classic physical signs . . . while Bridget kept me on my toes! She has really expanded in the two weeks since I sheared her, and by Sunday evening her vulva and udder were so 'ripe' that I set up the corner lambing pen and put her in it – for her own safety, if nothing else. Her coat was too loose to be safe for a newborn, so I found one that fit her better. A different coat made her a target for the other ewes (sheep are very visual), and I didn't want a repeat of last year's nearly fatal bashing.

Even though I was hoping for a third lambing in three days, there were no new lambs waiting for me on Monday morning. (But there was a spectacular sunrise!) I turned the ewes without lambs out on pasture, keeping an eye on Bridget.

my three 'watched pots'

When they came back in, Bridget's appearance no longer drew fire, so they hung out together until bedtime, when I put Bridget back in the corner pen for the night. Still nothing on Tuesday morning, but she was holding her tail out and to the side. Oh well; it was a gray, wet day, perfect for staying home and waiting on lambs. Finally, at my first check of the afternoon, I found this:

A strapping single ram, black at first sight, but on closer inspection, clearly Ag grey.

Names have come a little slower to me than usual this year. I decided on Bauble and Bijou for Blaise's twins, using big sister Bling's name as inspiration. After determining that Bree's son is indeed jet black, not dark brown, he got the name Blackjack. After casting about for ideas for Bridget's son, this morning his name practically whacked me upside the head: Bridger!

Here are photos of all four, from oldest to youngest, from this morning:
Bijou (ram), left, and Bauble (ewe), right

the tip of Bauble's tail – that's her 'bauble'  😁




That leaves Bette and Bernadette yet to lamb. Will they be stealthy or advertise their imminence? Will they continue the dominance of black boys? Will they have singles or twins? Only time will tell; I'm not taking off for the coast this weekend (church women's retreat) just in case!

That's the lamb spam to date from . . .