Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My Turn

I guess it's my turn for all the....challenges during lambing time.  I found the first set of twins of the year, and called Tisha to pick up that bummer.  A couple of days later, I went out and found another set of twins.  Again, it the mother was a stupid first time mother, and I couldn't get them into the baby area.  It was morning, and I needed to get to work, so I hoped for the best, and told the mama to stay in the barn.  Of course, she didn't listen.  That night when Steven & I went out to feed and get them set up.  No babies.  The only thing we could figure was that the stupid mama went too far out on the hillside and the lambs couldn't keep up.  But no one was upset and looking for babies, so now I'm not sure.  Particularly since the sheep had access to the entire barnlot as well as the back hillside that day.  And I didn't notice the tag number on the ewe.  Just that she was wild as a march hare, and had two small brown babies.  I'm particularly wondering, given what I found when I went out tonight.

Everything was going fine.  Steve had left the sheep locked in just the back lot, right behind the barn.  They have access to water, and the feed is in the barn.  There really isn't any feed out on the hillside right now anyway, so it's not a big deal to keep them close, and it made us feel better given the lost twins.  It was cold, so the sheep had put themselves inside already.  Zeke, Mouse and I feed the sheep, and I went out to feed the horses.  I stepped over to put hay in the first feeder, looked down, and saw something I did not expect to see.  There was a ewe, with two little babies curled up next to the horse feeder.  I stared for a minute, re-evaluated my plan, and fed the horses on the ground outside the barn.  Then I closed a gate to keep the horses from messing with the sheep, and to keep the ewe where she was.  I went inside and called Steve to consider my plan.  I was, of course, home alone and no one was expected until well after 7:00pm.

Sheep in horse stall.  Not where they are supposed to be!


Just yesterday, I had asked Steve to get me a cow panel to hang in the barn to use for sheep control when I was alone with a wildling.  I thought about it and decided that with the two panels I had in the barn and one closed gate, I could make a fairly straight shot from the horse stalls to the temporary baby area we had set up in that end of the barn.  I waited until Sarah got home, so I had backup handy in case I needed it, and headed out with Zeke.  I made him lay down and wait while I muscled the panels into place (OK - I actually did more dragging than lifting, but still...) and secured them with a couple of handy dandy rubber strap bungie cords.  I stood back and figured as long as she didn't hit it too hard it should hold.

I laid Zeke down outside her area so she wouldn't try those panels and hurt herself or a baby, then I went in and decided to try the lamb lure.  I wasn't expecting much success, because I figured this was another stupid first time mother, but to my surprise, she was actually pretty strongly bonded to those babies.  She was still pretty flighty, and pretty much ran circles around me, but she stayed in the general area of the babies, even with me holding them.  We got inside, and I watched to make sure everyone would get sorted out again.  All looks good.  But dang the year is starting out strangely.