**Caution: Photos and video of live lamb birth-proceed with caution**
Things on the ranch had started to settle down. The puppies are getting bigger, and more responsible. Jemima and Gherkins are fully weaned and living their best lamb life with Frostee. There are no more rams in rut tearing down our fences and gates. The pygmy goats have moved to a new home so we can focus only on sheep. Phew we can breathe.
We started noticing Wallee was getting big. Like, a lot bigger than the other sheep. Once she started waddling, I checked her belly for babies. If you stand behind the sheep, and wrap your arms around her like you’re going to give her the heimlich and push on her tummy, you can sometimes feel the baby moving. I thought I felt something but I wasn’t entirely sure. We waited a few weeks and I felt again. This time, I for sure felt something. So we brought her up to the paddock. And we waited. We knew approximately what day Dodger may have connected with her, but we weren’t sure. We calculated about a two week window when she might have the baby. We waited some more. Just when we thought maybe she tricked us and she was really just a big sheep, it finally happened.
We pulled up chairs, and waited to make sure we weren’t going to need to assist. And, we waited… 🥱 Finally, at 8:36 PM… with only a little help from Josh, Dakota made her entrance to this world. ❤
We weren’t sure if there was another baby or not. Wallee was pretty big, but she is a big sheep when she’s not pregnant. We decided to hang out a little longer to see either the afterbirth or another head and hooves to start showing. At 9:16PM, we saw a little white nose and some hooves!
We decided to name him Biscuit. Because he wanted to stay inside Mama and cook like a little biscuit 😁
We were overjoyed to have been able to not only witness this birth, but to see that it was successful. After our loss of Willee , we both spent a lot of time praying that this time would end differently. Almost immediately, we could tell this time was different. Wallee was nudging the babies to nurse and standing still to allow them to do so. She never did that with Willee.
The first 72 hours of a lamb’s life are crucial. Once they make it past the first 72 hours, their chances of survival are much greater. We went to bed that night, late, praying we would see those little white heads again in the morning.
We kept Wallee and the babies in the smaller kennel for only the first three days. When the “professionals” on YouTube move Mama and babies to another pen, they put the babies in a laundry basket, and pull it with a rope to their next destination. The Mamas always follow. Well, we didn’t have a laundry basket, so we decided we would each carry one baby and Wallee would follow. HA HA HA HA WHEN WILL WE LEARN?? After an amusing (for the other animals) 30 minutes of chasing Wallee around the yard, we get them into the birthing center so they had more room to roam. They grew so fast!
They stayed in the birthing center until they started to wean. We planned on weaning them gradually, but Wallee started it for us. I have read, more often than not, that there is really no timeline when it comes to livestock. They all follow a general idea of when things happen, but you need to know your animals. Spending time with them every day is the best way to learn a timetable. The twins started to nibble on grain and hay almost immediately after we moved them to the birthing center. We noticed that Wallee was starting to walk away when they were trying to nurse. They were still nursing a bit, but mostly eating grain/hay and drinking water. It’s important that you don’t wean too early. Sheep have four parts to their stomach. The first, and most important, section of their stomach is called the rumen. Lamb’s rumen does not fully develop to allow them to digest food until they are 50-60 days old. However, the sooner they begin to try to eat grain and hay, they sooner their rumen will be fully developed and they can be separated from Mama.
Once several days had passed without either of us seeing the babies nurse, we decided to move Wallee back to the back pasture. It takes about three days for the babies and Mama to stop calling to each other. The first day is always the hardest (loudest!), and it gets progressively better until day three when they both have accepted and moved on.
For now, Biscuit and Dakota will stay in the paddock by the house with Jemima and Gherkins. Gherkins is very small still, and her and Jemima have really bonded so we don’t want to separate them. So we will have the four amigos up here for the forseeable future!
Hello you two, such fun news and such cute babies!!!! You guys are doing an awesome job on your farm!!!!
Thank you Cindy! Hope to see y’all again soon! 🥰
Who would’ve known!? I’m thinking we can officially call you and Josh ‘ranchers’ Great pics and commentary.
Love it!! ❤️
Thanks Aunt Shelly! We call ourselves ranchers too! 🥰