Friday, May 1, 2015

First Lamb!

The farm's first lamb arrived yesterday morning! This is an image-heavy post, so grab a nice cup of tea while it loads and then enjoy all the adorableness!

I knew Dawn was going to be the first to lamb, as she was the largest. This is her on the eve of lambing--just look at that bulging belly!
When I woke up yesterday morning, I had a hunch that maybe it was The Day. Dawn's udder had been looking full all week, but it was even fuller and rounder than the day before. She was practically waddling at this point!

Around 11 am, I peeked out my office window and saw not a single critter in the pasture, which is very unusual. I knew something must be up, so I thought I'd finish up what I was working on and then go check on things. Before I could, though, my MIL came over to tell me there was a lamb in the barn! I threw by barn clothes on as fast I could, grabbed the camera and lambing kit, and arrived to see baby up and already nursing. Mama was still licking off the afterbirth, but baby seemed very alert and healthy.

For the first hour or so, baby couldn't quite seem to figure out her back legs. She kept half laying down, but then getting back up again when she couldn't get her back legs to fold down. So cute!
I could tell right away that Dawn was going to be a good mama. She's very attentive to her lamb, and makes a soft nickering sound often while licking or nudging baby.
Even at less than an hour old, the baby was showing signs of trademark soay curiosity! Hopping a little bit, exploring the area, and mouthing everything in sight to determine if it was edible.
After about another half hour, Dawn laid down and started grunting, so I thought maybe she was working on a twin. I left her in peace to get lunch and do some more work, then went back to the barn a few hours later. It turns out she was just working on the placenta!
All the other animals were super respectful of Dawn's space. I had read that if an ewe decides to birth in the barn that the others often won't go in until long after she's done, and this proved true. I found the other ewes resting with the alpacas in the alpaca pen every time I went outside yesterday.
I just love how comfortable all the animals are with each other. I knew the sheep often rested with the alpaca during the day, but I had never been able to actually capture photos of it until now! They're all so sweet together. I found it quite touching how respectful they were of Dawn's space, because I know they were also very, very curious to meet the newbie!

After I cleaned up the birthing area, I finally properly sexed the lamb and confirmed my suspicions that it's an ewe. Hooray! Such a beautiful thing. She's a very healthy 5.3 pounds. I've named her Eliot, after the author. It was really, really hard to settle on a theme this year, but I've decided on authors for now, most likely all British, though I do really want to name someone Emerson!

While I was trying to capture Eliot to get a proper weight for her, mama decided she'd had enough and fled for the pasture, with Eliot at her heels. Oh man, you should have seen all the animals run to meet her! They were all very gentle with her, and mama was just the right amount of protective.
I think everyone is just as smitten with the little dear as I am, and I think she'll have them all wrapped around her hoof in no time!

Jazz should be the next to give birth. She's been bagged up for just about a week now, but it doesn't look quite full yet, so maybe a few more days for her. Can't wait to meet all the other new babes!

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