Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lamb at Last!

At last, we have a lamb!

Can you guess who the mother was? Was it Phoebe, who has been showing signs for a week now? Was it Mona, who was due yesterday? Was it Paris, who has been grunting, sighing, and having occasional contractions since yesterday?

No.

It was Inga, who has made no fuss at all, and who I would not have even guessed was due soon, if I didn't know her breeding date. She just quietly stood up to pee, and instead of urine coming out, a clear strand of sticky fluid came out---and I knew it was showtime.

I even managed to capture the birth on video!

Born unassisted at 7:15 this morning, and weighing a chunky 8 lbs., 7 oz., the newcomer is a white polled single ewe lamb. She is alert, vigorous, and VERY active.

Her father is the polled white AI sire Lykill, from Iceland. She carries a total of 68.8% AI bloodlines (68.8% AI bloodlines (Askur, Heli, Lykill)Lykill, Askur, Heli).

Because we follow certain naming practices for our lambs, all lambs born this year must have a name that starts with the letter U. Because she is first, we're naming this one Una.

We've not decided yet whether this little girl will be for sale later in the year, or if we'll keep her for our flock.

More lambs should be coming very, very soon!

10 comments:

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

FINALLY!!

FullCircleEquine said...

YAY!! I have been checking here a few times a day waiting for lambing news!!
She is a cute little thing

heather said...

...YEA! So will the next one be "Uma"? - tee hee....hope to visit in about a week (?)

Anonymous said...

Hurrah! (Had to change the greeting up a bit ;o) She is adorable. Here's to a veritable flood of lambs for the next few days. -- Kris

Rhea said...

Happy Birthday, Una! That was SO cool! I watched the entire 9 minutes and 36 seconds of the birth video. Inga was a champ! She barely made any noises and just squirted that baby right out. I was super impressed.

Baby Una is adorable. I was susprised she was white, since her mommy was black, but then I read her daddy was white. Interesting genetics.

YAY, your Lamb-a-palooza is finally beginning!! I'm so excited!!

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Hurray! Finally a lamb! I read your explanation for your naming practices and it was very interesting. What does "AI" stand for though? I've seen you use it a lot but don't know what it means. Congratulations to Inga on the birth of a healthy Una. Love the names! (It's going to be challenging coming up with names that start with "U"!)

Nancy Chase said...

Hi Amy.

"AI" stands for "artificial insemination." There were only ever about 85 (I forget the exact number) Icelandic sheep imported to this continent from Iceland about 20-ish years ago.

Since then, to keep the bloodlines from getting too concentrated and to keep making improvements on the breed here in North America, breeders have begun importing semen from the best Icelandic rams in Iceland, to breed to our ewes here.

Because in Iceland they have many, many more Icelandic sheep to choose from, they can pick the very best rams for breeding. So using semen from those rams helps a lot in constantly improving our sheep here too.

However, AI on sheep is not as easy or effective as AI on a lot of other animals, due to differences in the ewe's reproductive cycle. It's very time consuming to do, and the conception rate is usually mediocre.

So lambs born from the AI process are considered especially valuable, for their relative rarity, for the genetic improvements they offer, and because someone spent a lot of effort to make the breeding happen!

Luckily for me, I didn't have to do the AI to get this lamb. I got the ewe already bred from another breeder, so for me this lamb is sort of a "freebie."

Oh---and yes, it certainly is going to be a challenge coming up with all those names that begin with U! (I'm not much looking forward to the X year either!)

Hayden said...

What a little cutie! And her mom? What a keeper! Well Done!

Amy said...

Thank you for the AI explanation!

Jennifer said...

Congrats on the new lamb! Nice blog! I raise Boer goats and the excitement of all the new goat kids in the spring really makes it all worthwhile.