Monday, April 25, 2016

Lambing at Rivendell Farm

     It started about three weeks ago.  The barn became a maternity ward, a nursery, and a giant playpen.  Our lambing season began.  The girls had been looking so uncomfortable, and Maxine gave birth to triplets - two ewes and a ram, all sound, all black hst* colouring.  We have named them Belladonna, Boromir, and Pearl.  So far, so good on the Tolkien names.
Maxine and her triplets.  She is such a good mother.
     Next Eowyn had a beautiful and sturdy pair of ram lambs.  We've dubbed them Fili (all white)  and Kili (black and white piebald markings).
Fili and Kili hiding behind mom.

     Arwen gave us triplets - beautiful little white ones, two ewes and a ram.  It was a difficult birth, and the last one, a ewe, was in the birth canal quite a while, emerging without the placenta.  She never really had strength to move much, and finally, despite our best efforts died.  It was rough, but a brain damaged lamb would not survive long.  Drew  buried her next to our llama, Thorin, up in Thorin's Hollow. Her brother and sister are Eldarion and Nessa, respectively.
Arwen settled in nicely
     Rosie gave us triplets, much to our relief.  She was a sextuplet herself, and we were a bit worried!  Elanor is a black hst ewe, Faramir, a black piebald ram, and the last, a skinny little white runt of a ram I call Hamlet.  Hamlet arrived, in the birth sac, and barely moved.  I prodded him a bit, to make certain he was alive, and he moved a little, but not enough to break the placenta.  Finally, he broke free and we met the scrawniest little lamb I have ever seen.
Newly cleaned Hamlet
 He was game, though, and got to his feet.  He tried to nurse, but was shoved out of the way by his sturdier siblings.  Not wanting to watch another lamb die, we began supplementing him with about three bottles a day.
 He is still a runty little thing, with nothing resembling a fleece, just lots of pink skin with white fuzz on it, but he is doing well, comes running when he sees me, and drinks eight ounces of  colostrum replacer in a couple of minutes!

      The same day Rosie gave us the triplets, Galadriel, our smallest ewe from last year's batch of lambs, began giving birth.  Her first one was a stillborn ewe, born breech, and with much effort.  She was fully formed, and beautiful, so I tried giving her CPR (not fun on a gooey newborn), but she was gone.  Drew went out and dug another hole in Thorin's Hollow for this little one.
     Next another ewe (Ruby) was born, also breech, but without as much straining.  While she was cleaning that one off, another arrived, also breech, and he popped out so fast, she did not even know he was there.  But this guy was letting nothing get in his way, and looking like the devil himself was ripping his way out of the placenta, he flailed and shook his head clearing out the mucus and slime, and got to his feet before his momma knew what was going on.  This little ram is entirely black, and a gorgeous creature whom my husband has named MacDuff.  (You know the line from MacBeth, "MacDuff was from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd" - well this seemed and appropriate name.)
Gal with Ruby and MacDuff
MacDuff - just after freeing himself of the birth sac.
     Merry surprised us with two lambs a couple days later.  We arrived at the barn by 8:30 in the morning and the babies were cleaned, fed and sleeping.  We had left the barn at 1:30 a.m. the night before, and she showed no outward signs of labor.  Merry's little ones are an all black ewe name Estella,  and a black hst ram lamb I am calling Bill, after Sam's pony in The Lord of the Rings.

     We are still waiting on Pippin to deliver, and I still have a few names on the list.  Shakespeare seems to have snuck in this year, but I don't mind!   So far our count is eight rams and eight ewes born, with two of those ewes not surviving.
    ***So as I was writing this, Pip was busy in the barn delivering white twins, a ewe and a ram we are calling Goldberry and Tom Bombadil.
Goldberry and Tom with Pip
 At last we are done for the  season.  Now we are in that happy, crazy time of socializing the lambs to people, feeding those who need help, and yesterday, introducing them to the great outdoors while keeping a watchful eye on the sky for hawks and eagles.
Faramir climbing Mount Rosie

So who is the big guy?

"This does not smell like a coyote or a badger, so I guess
I will leave it alone."

Learning to gambol (and Hamlet, falling down!)

Elrond herding the  sheep

MacDuff and Ruby with Hamlet serenading the sky

Nessa and Arwen 


Drew and our flock

*Note: hst = head, socks, tail - generally one solid colour with white on the head, socks, and tip of the tail.

No comments:

Post a Comment