Today was a special day here on the farm! Our ewe, Olive, lambed! We have a new ram lamb and he’s doing great! The first thing ever to be born on our farm and it was a success! Yay! 🙂
We had an inkling Olive was going to be ready to lamb today. We had been watching her udder slowly expand the past couple days and this morning it was almost as big as Lyla’s who is nursing twins! Hannah ran to check on her just before lunch and came back brimming with excitement! She was certain Olive was in the process of lambing! By the time I got out to the barn we could see hooves! After a few minutes Olive’s new lamb was born. Olive immediately licked her little lamb clean and dry. What a good mama!
We were told it’s important to give the new mom and lamb some alone time from the flock to bond. Plus, I was worried the little guy would get stepped on by one of the other sheep. I was still wondering how I would manage to separate the pair when the ram head-butted the poor baby because he got too close to the hay. The little lamb fell right over! I had to intervene. I scooped up the still-goopy lamb and tried to coax Olive to follow me out of the stall. Sheep hate to be separated from the flock and Olive is not our bravest ewe so she resisted my attempts, despite the fact I was holding her new lamb. After several failed attempts I finally decided to try putting the lamb down in the new stall and backing away to give that nervous mama some space. Olive anxiously looked for her lamb, peering out from the stall and calling for him. He was giving little, tiny, newborn lamb baa-s in response. Finally her mothering instinct overcame her fear and she ventured away from the safety of the flock and into the new stall where her helpless lamb was waiting. I instructed the kids to close the stall door behind Olive but those sheep just cannot resist following each other! The whole flock began to move behind Olive! Noooo! The kids began pushing the heavy door closed but only the ram, who probably had his head busy in the hay feeder, got trapped in. Lyla, her lambs, and Poppy all managed to escape through the rapidly-closing door!
Lyla is our most fearless ewe and the leader of the flock so Hannah and I grabbed her lambs, put them back into the “home” stall and she easily followed me. Success! Now we just had shy Poppy to get back in, and it didn’t take her too long to realize she was safer staying with Lyla in the home stall. We rolled the door shut and secured it. PHEW! Now we had successfully separated the new mama and her tiny lamb who still hadn’t had a chance to nurse. He was lying down in the hay and looking very sleepy. With all the time that had passed finagling the flock and with the cold temperature outside, I needed to make sure he was up and nursing before leaving them. Ignoring Olive’s stomping hoof I gently picked him up and placed him near his mama’s milk. He instinctively began nosing and nudging and relief swept over me as he began to nurse. Now I knew he was going to be warm and strong! I went back later to bring some fresh water for Olive and I was delighted to see him nursing, fluffy-looking, and as cute as can be! Great job, Olive! We had all been excitedly waiting for this moment to come! What a great experience and something I don’t think we’ll soon forget!