Monday, May 2, 2011

Mutton Mondays - Lambing.

May is lambing time here at the ranch. This means a few things, one is that it's busy around here! As we speak J is out there working and it's decided to snow something crazy tonight! I hope those little lambies stay warm.

The last few weeks I've learned the babies we had a few months ago were just a drop in the bucket!

May is when the whole herd is due to have their babies. It began a few weeks ago on shearing day, but the past week has been the busiest by far.

Here is what lambing is all about.
First you have an open field of several hundred very pregnant ewes.
You have workers making their rounds They are looking for ewes that are showing signs of labor.
Don't you love Jigsy's new collar?
Here a few signs a ewe is getting ready to lamb:
1. She goes off by herself
2. Pawing at the ground
3. She passes her mucus plug
Once she starts puckering her lips like this - you know it's game time.
There are different phases in lambing. The first phase the ewe will dilate and lose her mucus plug.

Contractions will increase and the ewe's water bag will appear. This can go on anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. If a ewe is in the pushing stage for over an hour it's likely she is having trouble. This is when one of our workers will intervene.

Most ewes will not need help lambing, a good sign they are fine on their own is if their lamb's hooves and nose appear simultaneously. This is the position the lamb should be in.
Source: here.
If you can see the nose and 2 front hooves mama can take it from there. 

Once the lamb is born the ewe begins licking her baby clean. This is my favorite part. It's just amazing how instinct kicks in!

Once the babies are born and the ewes have a chance to bond with their baby, the lambs will picked up by one of the herders or J and the ewe will be lead to  pen or "jug" as we like to call them.
You carry the lamb low so the mom can see and smell it. This does not hurt the lamb.
This is where they will bond some more and feed.
I've watched a quite a few births these past few months and I'll admit my eyes well up with tears each time. These animals are so strong and it's astonishing to see their instincts kick right in. Within seconds of a lamb being born, mama is right there licking her baby. These mamas can give these lambs so much more than a human can ever provide for them.

My hat goes off to all the mamas out there. Whether it's an animal birth or a human birth I know they don't call it "labor" for nothing!
Lambing is an amazing time of year and it's become my favorite time of year. This is what I get to see and hear every day.

Here is J. He really is excited about lambing time, he's just exhausted these days.
For now, a thumbs up with have to do!
Keep up the hard work hubs! Lambing is almost done.


Farmchick said...

I cannot imagine what a busy time this must be, but what sweet babies!

gin said...

This was very informative! We need to tell J that he needs to cradle those sweet babies, not just drag them by the legs...spoken like a true mommy I guess. :)

myblackfriendsays said...

such cute babies! it's true--they don't call it labor for nothing. You'll find out soon enough yourself ;)