Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Too many babies

Last night, Dave slid under the covers and snuggled up to me at 4 A.M. “Anything?” I mumbled. “Two sets of healthy twins.” I smiled and fell back to sleep.

This morning, the first thing I did when I went out to the barn was to check on the new babies. Pen number one had a white lamb and a black lamb. Big, healthy looking, and sound asleep.
Pen number two had three white lambs. Three.  Dave had told me twins. I got out the barn log. Yep, twins. Twelve orange had had a third baby all by herself. The new lamb was still damp from being licked. Both Mom and new baby were baaing. I dried the lamb off, clipped her umbilical cord and dipped it in iodine. I decided to feed the rest of the ewes and then if the lamb was still calling, I’d express some milk from her mom’s udder and bottle feed her.

At the north end of the barn where we store our hay, I found another new lamb, head through the fence around the group pen, as close as possible as he could get to Jiji and her quadruplets. All the lambs in the group pen were three days old. This lamb belonged to someone else in the barn.
I picked him up and carried him, baaing, from ewe to ewe, looking for a mom who was missing a lamb. None of the ewes responded to his baas. None of the ewes looked as if they had recently lambed except the ewes in the jugs. Only numbers 17 and 12 had lambed in the last three hours. This lamb was still damp and had a long umbilical cord. He was obviously a newborn.  Twelve orange maaed when I passed her pen with the lamb. She reached over the wall of her pen and baaed. He baaed back. 

Our pens are panels of plywood tied together at the top and bottom corners. The bottom tie on 12’s pen was missing. Sometime after he had been born and well licked, this lamb had squirted out the corner of his pen and then, unable to find his way back in, had gone looking for companionship and warmth. Smart lamb.

Both the new lambs looked cold. Twelve orange stood there quietly while I expresses a bottle of milk  and bottle fed all four of her quadruplets. She was a good mother. I’d call her a great mother if only she’d thought to tie up the corner of her pen.

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