Sunday, January 20, 2013

Babies, babies and more babies

Lead ewe and her babies from last night.
This is the largest concentration of lambs I think we've had since we started with the sheep.  Now, this is how Dad did it, except that he did it with over 100 ewes, and had to check on them about every 4 hours because they needed more assistance and supervision than our little flock does.  However, we are beginning to have some issues. 

I came home from church this morning, to see Zeke out harassing a single sheep in the ram pasture.  Now, Zeke harassing is not that unusual - it is his preferred activity whenever he is out of sight of a human.  But, the single sheep kind of tripped some alarms, so I went in and discussed the fact that Zeke was out unsupervised with Sarah, and then sent her out to check on the sheep.  Sure enough, there was another baby.  Predictably, there were troubles getting mamma and baby into a jug. 

Sarah couldn't get the ewe to cooperate, so she called me.  I changed clothes, and went out to the barn.  Mamma and baby were together and doing fine, but mamma is wild as a March hare and is having nothing to do with us.  We tried the usual tricks.  We started easy by picking up the baby and putting it in a jug.  The theory is that when baby cries, mamma goes in and we can close the gate.  Not this time.  Mamma came to the edge of the jug and called baby out.  Baby is mobile enough that he/she totters on out to mamma and our manipulation failed.  We tried leaving baby with mamma and herding them both into the jug, since baby is keeping up fine.  No dice.  We eventually resorted to putting baby into a jug so he/she wouldn't get trampled while we caught mamma.  This involved lots of running around by sheep, and some running by both Sarah & I, but I eventually got mamma caught, and walked her into the jug that baby was in.  Sarah shut the gate behind us and I was in the process of swinging my second leg over the panel to get out of the jug when I hear Sarah exclaim, "Are you kidding me?"  I turned and looked, and sure enough, mamma had jumped the gate, leaving the lamb in the jug. 


See - baby is keeping up just fine.
At that point, I decided that since baby was up and moving and obviously keeping up with mamma, they could stay out with the main herd for today.  Maybe tomorrow morning after everyone settles down, Steve & I can get them into the nursery pen with the other ewes and their lambs.  For now, they are both doing fine.