Saturday, April 12, 2008

Frayed Tempers

I'm beginning to think that my lambing pens confer some magical immunity against giving birth.

The ewes in the pen are so very tired of being pregnant, they are getting very, very cranky. Nearly every ewe in there spent a good portion of the night having pseudo-contractions, yet none of them went into actual labor.

Every time Trouble had a contraction, she displayed her discomfort by repeatedly banging her head on the wall.

Poor Paris is wider than she is tall. Her udder and teats are so distended, they reach to her hocks, and her belly is so low, it's down to her knees. She had cramps and contractions off and on all night, but her water never broke and she never went into full labor. She is so touchy that if another sheep even looks at her or stands within 2 feet of her pen, she violently attacks and pounds her horns on the metal fence panels over and over again.

So you can imagine how much sleep I got last night. I went to bed at 11:30. Paris's banging woke me at 1:30, 3:00, and 5:00.

At 5:00, I finally heard a ewe going into labor---outside in the paddock!!!

I got my flashlight and went out to look. Sure enough, there was Rhonwen, with the telltale ooze of birthing fluid dangling from under her tail. Fortunately, she was not so far along in labor that she had lost her interested in grain. I quickly rearranged a few of the ewes inside to free up a lambing pen, and lured Rhonwen into it with a bucket of grain.

At about 7:00 a.m. the lamb was born: a moorit solid ram lamb with big horn buds. He's healthy and vigorous and BIG. Weighing 9 lbs. 8 oz., he is so tall that he could nurse while lying down, at birth! Considering his mom is my very best fleece ewe, and his dad has an awesome meat build, this boy should turn out to be something special.

He even has several small, white, "kissed by god" flashing spots on his head and face, which is a good indicator that he carries the gene for spotting.

No photos yet, as it is too dark inside to get any decent shots. But I'll post photos once we get him outside, either later this afternoon or tomorrow.

Oh---and I've named him Umber.


Anonymous said...

I feel bad for the ewes. I know how it feels to have your udder distended to your knees!

Sounds like that little ram is quite an impressive fellow. I'd named him Uther, after King Arthur's father. Can't wait to see what he looks like!

Nancy Chase said...

Hi Amy---I've got "Uther" on my list of names for this year. That's a good one!

But I decided to use "Umber" for this one, since it can only be used for a brown ram (since "umber" is a shade of brown), while "Uther" could be used for any color.

I know I'll be using Uther later, though!

FullCircleEquine said...

maybe moving them back outside would do the trick? seems as though most are going into labor and lambing out there(?) Maybe they are more comfortable outside. We have one mare here that absolutely will NOT foal inside. I swear she all but sits down to keep from foaling in a stall.