Early Sunday Morning Surprise

I knew that Sage and Lily were close to having their babies, but they had held off for so long that I quit being concerned about it.  So when I heard the loud baaing this morning, I knew that I probably had some new babies.  Sage and LIly were bigger than Ivy and Iris had been, so I figured that I might have some twins.  Well, when I heard all of the loud baaing early in the morning, I threw on a zip hoodie and ran outside, right into a dripping rain.  I had separated all of the spring mamas from the other sheep, and I had let them sleep in the backyard where they could get out of the rain under the shed.  Because of the freezing, cold rain, I had let the other sheep stay in my birthing shed.  Two of the mamas had already had their single lambs.  But I still had two preggie ewes.  For some reason, I didn’t move the two preggie ewes into the birthing shed and move the others out before I went to bed.  Go figure.  I paid for my mistake, because when I ran out to the overhang, I saw babies…lots of babies and mothers.

In my coffee-deprived brain, I am trying to make sense of what I am seeing.  I am seeing babies and four mothers milling around.  The two older lambs, Jacob and Azalea, were milling around with the rest.  I see a mama who obviously has just given birth, and then I see two lambs.  Oh, my goodness, twins!  Then I see a tiny lamb deposited in the hay box, and I freak out.  I think, “Oh, my goodness, I have triplets!”  So I start freaking out and running around.  I run in the house and get towels, and move the dog into my bedroom, because I think that I am going to have to bottle-feed the triplet.  I find my new lamb bottle and Pritchard teet, my bag of colostrum, then I run back outside with a towel.  When I get back outside, I realize I have a fourth twin.  That’s when the light bulb goes on, and I realize that both Sage and Lily have had their babies, and they each had twins.  No triplet.  Thank goodness!

I breathe a sign of relief, and then I start trying to separate the new mothers from the others.   I grab some feed and move the ram, Jasmine, and her two babies out of the birthing shed and out into the rain.  Then I try to figure out which twin belongs to which mother.  Lily has already identified her two lambs and started feeding and nuzzling them.  They appear to be cleaner and older than the other two.  I decide the other two must belong to Sage.  I grab the smallest lamb out of the hay bin and take it (haven’t checked gender yet) to the birthing shed.  Then I run back and get the largest lamb which must be the other twin of Sage’s and carry it to the birthing shed.  Sage is standing in the rain baaing at me, but she is hesitating coming to the birthing shed.  So I grab some hay out of the hay shed and tempt her with it.  She finally comes, and I go back to move Lily’s lambs.

I manage to move Lily and her lambs, but Sage’s tiny twin is wandering all over the place and trying to nurse on Lily.  I had wanted to make a permanent divider in the birthing shed, but it hadn’t happened.  I decide to make it a little harder for the twins to go to the wrong mom by moving a cedar post and dividing the shed in half.  Hopefully, that would encourage the lambs to stay with their mothers.  If you have ever had lambs, you know that a cedar post is not much of a hindrance to even new lambs, but it seemed to work.

Sage was still in the latter stages of birthing and was not all cleaned up.  She was eagerly eating the hay and not really interested in letting her babies eat.  I was very concerned about the tiny twin that I found in the hay bin.  I was concerned she might not accept it, because she kept pushing it off while she was eating.  I was even concerned that it might actually have been a triplet of Lily’s because Sage was not cleaning it or accepting it and because of how much larger Sage’s other lamb was.  The tiny one would wander over to Lily and try to eat, but that wasn’t working.  I decided that regardless of whose it was, Sage needed to feed it.  I watched for awhile and decided I had better prepare a bottle of colostrum for it.  By this time, I had prepared some coffee and drunk it, so my brain was operating a little bit better.  After preparing the bottle, I ran back out (with my rain jacket on this time, because my hoodie was soaked) and saw that finally Sage was allowing the little one to eat and she was cleaning it.  Praise God!  Nature had worked again!