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From 12 – 22: The Flock Grows: Ready to Relax, Chapter 4

Aisling Domestic sheep reproduction Easter Farm Glossary of sheep husbandry Harry Potter Lambing Lily Photographs Seasons sheep Shetland Sheep Vermont Sheep and Goat Association Winky

It’s time to finish telling about the last 5 lambs born at the farm since I had digressed and spent a chapter on Aisling, the bottle lamb:

Ruva, big as a house, twinned on Sunday, April 1st  at the end of the day.  Bless her heart, her deliveries were uneventful and we had her ram lambs’ cords trimmed and iodined by 10 p.m..  This made for a much better night’s sleep for me, because by then the stresses of the rejected lambs and bottle lambs and all that jazz had me pretty worn out.  Ruva is a veteran, having twinned in the past as well as having single lambs, so she knew what she was doing when it came to nursing and caring for her boys. We named her two guys “Romulus” and “Remus” and they are nearly identical, except that Remus is slightly smaller.  Their fleeces are not quite chocolate-y, which would be called “Dark Moorit“, but a warm tone between fawn and dark reddish-brown called “Moorit.”

Ruva with Romulus & Remus

April 2nd, a Monday, was a day off in lambing.  And thank God because I was ready for it.

Tuesday, April 3rd, Lily gave birth to twins at dusk.  We’d already moved most of the ewes and their lambs into private or semi-private quarters, so Lily was sharing a stall with Winky when she lambed.  I thought, actually, it was a good lesson for Winky as she was the last ewe left to lamb.  Lily had ram lambs which we named Albus and Hagrid.  They are darn cute!  Albus has  a Moorit-colored fleece with white sideburns and a beard.  He is the picture of wisdom, in a lamb, that is!  Hagrid, named for the friendly half-giant in Harry Potter’s world, is just that.  He is a lumbering, friendly bearded Moorit, very much loving to cuddle whenever you are with him.  Well done, Lily, well done!  Two beautiful healthy boys, and she delivered without a hitch.

Lily with Hagrid & Albus

Now we’re up to 9 lambs, 21 sheep all together.  All in 5 days time.

Char & Aisling - good times in the front yard!

By now the bottle feedings for Aisling were working out, the nursing of the reject/orphan lamb Oliver were working out, and all of the other moms were tending to their newborns uneventfully.  I had put Winky, my teen-pregnancy candidate, into her own “lambing jug” so that if she were to lamb, she would not be able to risk bonding with it because she would basically be on top of him or her in such small quarters.

After a few days, I thought maybe she was just fat and I’d misjudged her all along.  So I put her out to graze with the flock of wethers and her fellow-yearling ewes.

On Easter Sunday, we were bringing in the flock, and who do you think had a tiny sidekick, brand new, wet and mewing by her side?  Yes, Winky!  She birthed “Bunny” right in the sheep-chute in the cool grass in the pink light of the late day sun.  “Bunny” is kind of a cheesy name, I know, but my husband suggested it and for all of the work he does around here, I felt like I should at least humor him.  Char and I were thinking along the lines of “Pascha”, or some-such clever variation on Easter/Passover, but after a few days, “Bunny” stuck because, gosh darn it, her round, innocent face is definitely bunny-cute and her coloring is a lovely Musket with Katmioget markings.

Just this morning, I wethered (that means “neutered”) 8 ram lambs.  Can you say traumatic?  I’m pretty beat and need a shower, yes, but it is done and they are all being comforted by their mamas.  And I won’t have to worry about placing any rams in homes, or being over-run by in-breeding or managing (poor) behaviors by having 8 rams here on the farm.

And boom!  There are 10 little lambs here now, along with the 12 other yearling and older sheep.  It is a baa-fest when you go out in the morning to put everyone out for the day – you almost want earplugs!  But when they are out to pasture it takes some serious self-discipline to tear yourself away from the cuteness-overload that is going on.  I encourage all of my friends with little ones, or any animal lovers, to come and visit the farm now while the cavorting and gamboling babies provide what we call “lamb-t.v.”  And if you can’t get here from where you are, do enjoy the following photo collage:

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