Saturday, October 2, 2010

Our baby's had babies

This little lady is Melody in October of 2008, trying to get milk from my finger. She was the surviving lamb of twins and her mother was so stressed by the difficult birth and a prolapse that she didn't produce enough milk for her so although we kept Melody with the other sheep in the shed, we bottle fed her as well and she became a pet.

We've been watching Melody closely because of her mother's issue with twins that proved fatal for one of them. We needn't have worried. Mid morning today in the bright sunshine Melody the uninitiated produced twins of her own, alone and unassisted. I found her bleating softly at a boy and a girl, not yet standing but being industriously cleaned by their new mother nonetheless.

Poor Melly didn't have any older ewes to show her what to do, and she found it hard to know where her lambs were in the endless round of trying to clean them from her front end whilst they tried to feed from the back. The circles the ewes and lambs make due to the tug of war with their instincts can go on for an hour before the ewe settles, satisfied that her lambs are dry enough not to freeze and stands still long enough for them to make a mess of finding her teats.

In the confusion of learning by trial and error, the lambs actually got stood upon a few times although I moved her off them pronto. I was agast, they were pretty quiet about it. Tough little things. Melody and family were left in the shed to bond and dry off whilst the other ewes grazed. Although the sun is shining outside they'll go out soon enough so they'll stay in for a day or two until they are feeding strongly and don't look so frighteningly fragile. They seemed contented with this arrangement for the time being.