Monday, April 7, 2008

Full to Bursting

Okay, so maybe I was a bit hasty putting Phoebe into the lambing pen as early as I did. But this is getting ridiculous.

Surely it's not unreasonable to think that a ewe who has a full udder, a lamb that's dropped into position, and who is having contractions at 7 a.m. MIGHT POSSIBLY have her lambs by sunset?

But no, Phoebe just keeps playing the hurry-up-and-wait game. She had about 3-4 sets of contractions over the course of an hour this morning. Then she got up, ate a big breakfast, and went through the rest of the day as if nothing whatever was happening. When I go out to check on her, she just looks at me like, "What?"

On the bright side, I did manage to lure most of the expected Lamb-a-Palooza participants into the barn and into lambing pens this afternoon without having to chase anyone through the treacherous mud or wrestle with anyone.

It's a couple of days early to bring these ewes inside, but after a week of rain, the entire barnyard has turned into a swamp, so if they can be in somewhere clean and dry, and I don't have to wade through quite so much of a bog to check on them regularly, then so much the better.

There are a couple of bits of good news. Inga, the black polled ewe, has developed a fairly full udder over the past week, which means that she very likely IS pregnant by her AI (artificial insemination) breeding, rather than by the later cleanup ram. This is good, because that means the lambs will be a separate bloodline and should be relatively valuable, either to sell or to keep.

Also, a couple of the younger ewes that I thought were probably not pregnant seem to be starting to get the first signs of udders. So most of them probably are pregnant, just several weeks later, by my cleanup ram.

So, anyway, the ewes currently waiting in the lambing pens are:

Phoebe: due who knows when?
Mona: due tomorrow
Inga: due Wednesday
Paris: due Wednesday
Pandora: due Wednesday (?)

The only one that is supposed to be due on Wednesday that I didn't get into a pen is Trouble. She's still so wild and flighty that I have not been able to feel her udder, but she doesn't really look pregnant to me, so even though I saw her bred, I'm not convinced she's really due this week.

With this many sheep due at once, my lambing pens are full to bursting. Surely I'll get some lambs soon!


Rhea said...

I keep checking in regularly for updates, so thanks for letting me know the current status! This is so much fun (watching you do all the work, of course). lol

Trouble got her name for a reason, huh?

IFs and clean up rams...whew! Quite a conversation!

Anonymous said...

Murphy's Law says they'll all go into labour at the same time. I hope not, for your sake. And I love the term "sheep apnea"! Good luck.

Nancy Chase said...

Yes, Trouble definitely got her name for a reason! You can read the whole story if you check the blog archives for August 20 and 22, and September 4, 10, and 22, 2007.

Anonymous said...

Good grief. Phoebe is a real hold out. Maybe she likes all the room service she's been getting.

I guess the good news is with so many sheep in the room to count, you'll have no trouble getting to sleep. (har har)

Good luck with everything.

Rhea said...

Nancy, I read the archives, and that was the funniest stuff I have read in a while! Trouble DEFINITELY lives up to her name. She sounds like a smart sheep, albeit difficult. She's very pretty. Thanks for telling me where to find the story, it was fabulously hilarious!

heather said...

I did not enjoy our [human] OB rotation in nursing school...I'd rather do a sheep OB rotation any day! grins!
Love the updates. But we'll know you're busy delivering lambs if your blog goes a day or two w/out an entry! Thinking of you!

Nancy Chase said...

Hey Heather, you're welcome to come do a sheep OB rotation here. Looks like there might be plenty of work for you this week! Anyway, you've got to come out and visit again sometime, I haven't seen you in ages.