While you were all filling out your basketball brackets, we were awaiting the arrival of our first lambs. This is our first experience with all of this, so we did a lot of checking….walking out to the barn many, many times a day….checking for all the signs they were ready…just watching and waiting. Then, John finally came in one morning and said “We have lambs!” Then we kept having lambs for the next 3 weeks. Here are some pictures and commentary on all the things I never knew about sheep and lambing.
1. Most sheep have more than one lamb. Out of our 9 pregnant sheep, we had one give birth to triplets, 7 gave birth to twins, and one had a single lamb.
Look at how big this momma was before her lambs were born!
2. The sheep are more likely to have lambs during the day if you feed them at night.
New babies under the heat lamp with their momma.
3. Lambs are born with tails. You just put a little band around it and it falls off after about 2 weeks. They are so cute when they are nursing….their little tails just wag so fast!
4. The momma licks and cleans her lambs after they are born. This helps her know their scent. And do they ever know their own lambs’ scent! If another baby comes near the wrong momma, she will take her head and practically lift the lamb up and push her away!
Doesn’t this mom look like she is smiling?
5. If a lamb is born even a little weak, it doesn’t have a good chance of surviving. We lost 4 out of 18….which from talking to other sheep farmers is pretty typical. We tried bottle feeding and really working with those 4, but they don’t have much will of their own to fight to survive.
The lambs are already filling out and growing so fast. They are fun to watch. They will be standing in one spot and all of a sudden just jump straight up like a jolt of electricity went through them! Some of them will head-butt each other over and over again. When we bring in hay for the moms, the little ones will jump right into the feeder and stand on top of the hay until one of the moms knocks them down. And their little “maaaa” sound is so cute!
So, I guess we know a little more about sheep now that we’ve had our first lambs. We’ll see if that gives us more confidence for when the next lambs are born!