Meg’s Turn at a Lambing Post
Seems like this is a yearly tradition for me — to snap someone’s lambing on my camera. This year it is Blue Ewe Meg’s turn, and her little sweetie-pie-pumpkin-potato is sired by Kenleigh’s Lancelot. WARNING: Graphic birth photos ahead.
Annie and I were headed over to a friend’s house to visit puppies this morning and all the girls (ewes) had finished their breakfast quite a while earlier. As we were driving past the pasture they were all currently in, I noticed someone was laying down and she didn’t look comfortable. So we swung around and went back to the house to park the truck. Grab my “crash kit” (lambing time essentials) and a camera and off we went up to the pasture she was in. There in front of us was a vast expanse of sheep everywhere. I stopped and asked my four year old, “Which one is lambing?” She scans the crowd and points directly at Meg.
So I ask this young smarty-pants how she knew that. “Well, she is laying down.” So I replied that a lot of them were, how else did she know that one was the one lambing? “Because she’s pushing.” Yep, tell me my four year old isn’t getting a lot of life experience right now. I’m always amazed at how bright she is, and observant! Meg was pushing, and baa’ing too. I’ve actually never experienced such a noisy birth!
Meg also got up and wandered around quite a bit, moving from large area to large area — searching, laying, baa’ing, and moving again. Very restless which seemed a little unusual. This was also Meg’s first time lambing so I was on high alert hoping and praying that everything went well for her. I kept zooming in with my camera, trying to get a good view of her rear looking for those two little white dots that indicate the lamb is coming out correctly — front hooves first, nose second.
Finally I did spot the little slippers poking out, but was not expecting a pink nose — it actually stumped me at first because most of the time (in Jacobs) the nose is dark so that’s what I normally see. I started to worry again, was this the rear end? More zooming and a few more pictures napped showed me that my nerves were all for not. It was indeed a nose. And Meg was still wandering around.
She didn’t go far and finally settled on a position, right behind an old rock foundation for an 1800’s barn that used to be on the property. She quickly laid down and did a few more big pushes.
Once a ewe gets the head and shoulders pushed out, the rest comes fairly easily.
The urge to clean that baby starts even before the lamb is all the way out. Meg quickly got up which usually looks a little scary since the lamb basically falls out, but they land gently and the sack and umbilical are quickly torn away enabling the lamb to breathe.
Then comes the very intense first bath. It always amazes me how the ewe knows to go for the face and get that cleaned first, getting the sack off the nose is essential to the lambs breathing. The ewe instinctively knows that.
Speaking of instincts, not much longer and that lamb is getting to her feet as quickly as possible. This was a failed attempt, but with a couple more tries, she was on her feet.
Then going for her first sip of milk. This is where I step in and take care of the umbilical chord and banding of the tail then I walk away, leaving ewe and lamb to bond. I come back a while later to check on them and the lamb is dry, cleaned, and peacefully napping.
Just the way it should be. And thus, Marigold was born.