Saturday, March 24, 2012

in like a lion

Not at all in reference to this month of March. As a shepherding friend recently described it, the past six months have been an extended fall, and now we are already into well into spring, despite its relatively recent arrival according to the calendar.

I am referring instead to our lambing season. I came out to the pasture this morning and sensed that something was up from a distance. I couldn't get a clear view but there appeared to be little things wandering around that hadn't been there before.

Sure enough, Jasmine had triplets this morning—four days early, according to the marking harness, but maybe she wanted to take advantage of the last mild morning before the inclement weather blew in.

It was my favorite kind of birth. She had them all dried off and full of colostrum before we even arrived on the scene. Her mother was a birthing diva and constantly needed assistance, but luckily Jasmine does not seem to have inherited that trait.

Jasmine is in the middle;
the ewe to the right is her half-sister Kevyn.

It's fitting that she is kicking off our lambing season with triplets, as she was the first of our first set of triplets born on the farm, and her birth started our lambing season two years ago, almost to the day.

Unfortunately, all three are ram lambs. Even more unfortunately, the spotted one is having a problem with his left hind leg. Everything was so chaotic when we found them this morning that I didn't remember seeing a problem. I worried we had somehow injured him as we carried them back to the barn with mama in tow, to get them settled in the relative peace and quiet of a lambing jug. My LSH had taken a quick video with his iphone in the field, though, which clearly showed the problem was there when we found them.

(If you listen, you can hear Terzo point out that one is having difficulty walking, and then lamenting with the rest of us that they are all ram lambs—because he knows chances are slim that any of them will be sticking around.)

Something must have happened either in the womb or during the birthing process. The leg is not broken; my LSH suspects a problem with the tendon or ligament.

The lamb is nursing fine, and we have been checking them constantly today and noticed that he can get up and to the milk bar by himself. Jasmine is proving herself to be an excellent mother and very patient with all of them. I was concerned that she might reject him due to his wobbles, but so far there is no sign of that. She has earned nothing but gold stars today.

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