Notes from Windward: #69



Dolly becomes a mother again

     We knew the ewes were due to give birth right around now. I was still surprised.

     Jon and I were feeding the birds and rabbits, and we interrupted to go on the Morning Walk. Right before the walk I always feed the sheep and goats, and today was no different. Glancing into the sheep pen, though, I noticed that only three of the four ewes sauntered up expectantly to the alfalfa troughs. Where's Dolly?

     Dolly was licking her newborn with another wobbling along on its spindly legs. She headed over to the troughs but Jon and I tried to get her to go into a small private pen, called a "jug," in which she'll spend a few days bonding with her lambs.

Joker, the ram lamb

     Fortunately, everyone else showed up, so we were able to finally get Dolly and her lambs into the "lambing pen". There was a lot to do. I'd already brought Dolly her breakfast and Jon had brought her a bucket of water, but it was beginning to snow, so we pulled a tarp over the small pen.

Dolly and Joker

     I also brought over some wire to fix the fencing for the lambing pens. Gina brought over "lamb coats" made from old sweatpants to give them some extra warmth.

Lilly and I

     Lindsay brought over some straw with which to cover the ground. Everybody helped in some way. In the commotion, however, the black lamb got stepped on by Dolly and wouldn't move much, so Jon held him while Opalyn milked Dolly and fed the lamb some milk.

Jon and Opalyn feed Joker his first meal of colostrum

     He felt better soon and we put him back with Dolly, so that catastrophe was avoided.

Jon holds a well fed Joker

     We check on them every few hours and make sure they nurse directly from Dolly. Last I've seen, both Joker and Lily are doing just fine, and they're both drinking milk from their mother and walking around. Joker is a black male lamb, and Lily is white with freckles, similar to Pepper.

Lilly watches Dolly have breakfast

     Dolly and the three other ewes (Pia, Pepper, and Whitey) were introduced to Chaucer the ram on October 31 of last year. That was five months ago, so Dolly's right on time!

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 69