Totally Unexpected

She turns twelve next week. She had an oddball out-of-season lamb out in the pasture last September. Who ever would’ve thought that Dot, the grande damme of our flock, would’ve come into season just two months later? And then, today, drop these beautiful twins:

The white one is a female, and the black one is a male. At first the black one appeared to be stillborn, but when I tried picking him up he started moving a little. Fortunately, our shearer (Lisa) was here and had just finished shearing the flock. She picked up the little lamb, held him upside down, and then swung him in a manner that cleared his airway. The white one was in much better shape, and was already lifting her head to get up, but Lisa swing her in the same way just to make sure.

When Lisa arrived this afternoon, Dot had just begun going into labor. It was a shock, as we didn’t even know she was pregnant. Her frame is large, and her udder is always big, and she’s been moving stiffly for a while now; I hadn’t been able to put two and two together. But there it was, a “bloody show” hanging out of her rear end.

It wouldn’t have surprised me at all if she’d been miscarrying; I really didn’t expect a mature lamb…let alone two.

One thing Lisa found surprising was how interested Dot was in eating hay during the labor. An ewe’s appetite usually shuts down. But Dot seemed to take the whole thing in stride…which I suppose makes sense, given the number of times she’s done this. But it was still amusing watching the way she ate, totally oblivious to the bloody show hanging out of her rear. And then the ease with which the two lambs slid out, and how nonchalant she seemed. She sniffed the lambs, then went to get more hay, then licked them a little, then went for more hay. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

We put both lambs together, and surrounded them with scraps from Dot’s own fleece. We also closed up the barn, as it’s quite cold and blustery outside.

I’ll check on them again before we go to bed tonight, but I’m not really worried. They’re in good hands (or hooves, as it were).

Best. Sheep. Ever.

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