Sunday, March 19, 2023

The shepherdess' guesses

Now that entries are closed for my lambing contest, I'll give you my best guesses, along with reasons based on my daily interactions and history with the ladies in waiting.

1. Who will lamb first? Blaise, because she has the most udder development and vulva changes.

2. What will be the date of that first lambing? March 28, because Blaise's udder and vulva do not yet indicate imminent lambing.

3. When the dust settles, how many lambs will I have? Nine. I think Bree will have a single and everyone else will twin.

4. Will there be more boys or girls? I'm going to say girls, but as blessed as I was by ewe lambs last year, this may well be a ram lamb year.

5. What percentage of the lambs will be black-based? I'm going to say four out of nine, or 44.4%. That's more than Spot has sired so far, but he does have a 50/50 chance of contributing a black gene, and that's all it takes to produce a black-based lamb.

Bernadette has been waddling uncomfortably for weeks, if not months. Friday evening she laid down and I was sure I saw contractions, even though her udder and vulva didn't look promising. Stranger things have happened, though, so I got busy readying the lambing stall while thinking of "Irish" names (Blarney Stone and Baileys Irish Cream were the top contenders). Then I caught her up for a closer examination (by now she was up and eating) and decided she must have only been trying to move her lambs into more comfortable positions. She's so round and uncomfortable that I was entertaining the thought of triplets until I looked back at my 2022 posts; Bernadette was very round and waddling uncomfortably more than two months before giving birth (via c-section) last year. Another example of the benefits of blogging....

I did get one sheep sheared during last week's nice weather. Since Bridget's sheep suit was very snug and she has the woolliest tail (making lamb watch harder and lambing messier), her number was called on Friday:

She looks much rounder in real life!
Got milk? Not yet!
Tuesday looks like an auspicious day to shear another ewe. Last year I was able to roo Bette in April, so I will check her fleece first. If she's not roo-able, I may shear Bernadette. Why not Blaise, if I think she'll lamb first? She wasn't sheared until May last year, so I'd like to wait another month.
Blaise, R, with Bette, who I think will lamb second
Blaise with the very round and uncomfortable Bernadette

L-R: Bernadette, Bree, Boop, Bridget, Bette, Broadway, Bling, Blaise

Last week's spring-like weather made the purple croci out front smile brilliantly:

Oh, how I love these colors!

That's it for now from . . .


Leigh said...

Interesting post Michelle. The labor waiting game is truly a guessing game, isn't it? Always exciting too, to see what we'll get. And a relief when it over.

I just finished watching the Victorian Farm series on YouTube, and I found it interesting about the impending birth signs the shepherd looked for and that he just went in and pulled all the lambs. Fascinating.

A :-) said...

So interesting having your guesses now - you're the expert! :-) I haven't seen any crocus here yet, but my daffodils are definitely attempting to come up. We had another very cold (16 degrees with brutal windchill) day on Saturday, but we're back on the temperature upswing, so I'm hoping that it's possible that spring might be here :-)

Michelle said...

Leigh, I've read that people are sometimes surprised by births, but all my ewes have shown the exact same symptoms of turgid udder, very pink and fluffy vulva, and a sinking in the flanks prior to lambing – well, all except two very ill ewes that I didn't think were pregnant and didn't even think would survive (one didn't).

A, I don't consider myself an expert, but keep learning from my experiences! Daffodils are blooming all over the area, but I've only seen one of ours blooming so far (off in an odd place; I call them 'feral').

thecrazysheeplady said...

How exciting :-D

Jeanne said...

I'm excited about the impending births! I'm anxious to see the results.

Choosing names that begin with "B" has to be difficult.

Is Bette's name pronounced Betty? Or is it like Ms Midler's name? My middle sister's name is spelled Bette and pronounced as if it has a "y" at the end. It's a lovely name.

I hope you'll be able to come up with some great names!

Michelle said...

Not quite yet, Sara. 😉

Actually, Jeanne, I always seem to have plenty of ideas; I even keep a master list on my computer to which I add ideas as they come. I pronounce Bette as 'Betty;' she was named after the actress Bette Davis.

Tim B. Inman said...

My crocus (croci?) are still under snow here. The weather is doing the classic Iowa Hop - 60's for highs some days, low teens or single digits for lows some days, with wind chills in the big negatives a lot of the time. We're having a late spring.

Always fun to hear the lambing news. It brings back memories from a LONG time ago. Good luck!