Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Signs of Spring (and lambs)

Not only have I noticed many daffodils and forsythia blooming around here, but we now have a few dogwoods (just a few) with some flowers on them and a number of trees with swelling buds.
This, along with the warmer weather we had the last few days, reminds me that spring is very close and may be peaking from around the corner of my house ( I just can't see it because we're siding you know?).
The big storm on the news came through and brought much rain and lots and lots of wind to us along with a drop of temps. We went from high 60's, low 70's to the 40's :-(
Within the next few weeks we will start to see more and more warm days though AND some lambs.

Yes, I was working up to the lamb part of my title.
Though I have my first ewe "officially due" on April 9th----she is just the first I actually had seen get bred. Without a marker on the rams chest that leaves a green (or red or orange etc) spot on the back of the ewe it is sometimes impossible to know exactly when a ewe was bred or even took. Just because you see a mating does not mean that the ewe took that time or at all for that matter.
Most of the time however---I don't see them breed. They are sneaky or maybe just private. I mean after all...... who wants a crowd watching when you do the deed-- right?

During feeding about a week ago we noticed that we have a number of ewes developing some nice bags. Or nice Jumblies as Austin Powers might say.
Nice jumblies are a sure sign that we are at least within a months time at most.
So considering when I first started groping my sheep's jumblies----I suspect I may have a set or two of lambs by mid March. Yeah!
Everyone loves a lamb---they are just too cute.

Not only do I have one or two adults that may be due then but I also think one of my yearling ewes is also-----and I think she may have twins. Though she is not a really large sheep she is fairly large for her size in a round kind of way. She has also all but quit running around the pasture with the flock---a sure sign of an imminent lamb or squooshed multiples. So we shall see if I am correct. Last year I did guess correctly that one of my older ewes would have triplets so....we'll see if I can go 2 for 2 on guesses. If big deal. At least I know that she actually is pregnant and better than that she, and the other early due girls, tell me that my young ram Tex absolutely did his job to the best of his ability. Quickly too. Another good thing.

Very soon I will have to start making my very late (about 11 oclock) and my very early (about 5:30 or 6) pasture rounds. That way I can catch any lambs that might be born while it's cold out. Icelandics are usually very good about getting their lambs up and clean but sometimes a new mom kind of doesn't get it yet----and then her lamb can get cold and possibly die. I had that happen last year so we will be extra careful this year. Another problem is a ewe having twins while another ewe (usually very close to her own due date) gets a bit over excited and kidnaps the first born. Sometimes that "yeah---I'm going to have a baby" kicks in a bit hard and they get a little too excited about having a lamb and steal someone else's. We have to be careful of that since the kidnapper doesn't have milk yet----not a good thing for a little lamb.

One last thing I would like to leave this post with is a link to helping hypothermic lambs and how to tube and give intra peritoneal injection of glucose solution to them. For those that breed sheep it is a great thing to keep on hand for "just in case". Last year I had everything on hand EXCEPT the glucose solution which was how I lost my little gal. I didn't think I would ever need it and that tubing and warming would be fine----but that was just not so.

So---here's to an excellent last lambing for me. I truly look forward to it and am very excited as always. I will surely miss it next year (and for many afterwards) and I will have to re-live it each year vicariously through my sheep owning friends :-D

No comments: