Sunday, January 31, 2016

a roll of the dice

When we bred the ewes last fall, it wasn't the most thought-out decision. The rams were leaving; we weren't getting another ram anytime soon. It was then or not at all. So we went with then.

Shortly thereafter, I switched jobs.

Let me make it clear: I love my new job, but I am now officially back to being an attorney with all the time demands that sometimes entails. The office I work in is very flexible and very understanding, but I am away from home more, and more randomly, than I have been for a very long time. We are all adjusting.

And now, earlier than our usual custom based upon when the rams left the farm, lambing season is upon us. The first births were yesterday, and it came up snake eyes.

Secondo made the discovery when he went to the back to feed. Jasmine with one lamb in the ground, and more surely on the way given the first one's size. When she was all done, the final count was four. Quadruplets, the first ever set on our farm.

My husband and I immediately realized the enormity of it. Jasmine has frequently raised triplets by herself, with just a little assistance at the start. But four! There is no way she can do this by herself, though if any of our ewes were capable of it, it would be her. 

Thank goodness that Primo had cleared out the barn earlier that week, and Secondo and Terzo were home yesterday morning. Bottles were washed, clean old towels were pulled up from the basement, the heat lamp was plugged in and the babies and mama were settled into the jug, a smaller fenced area in the barn that keeps the new family together and warm for a few days while they get used to each other.

Now the intensive lamb management starts, and here's where the time starts to matter. Every lamb detail is noted in our barn book. Time of feeding—which for the time being, is every 3 hours—amount eaten, weight of each lamb every 24 hours, and any other relevant information.

Luckily we have help. So far at least, it's been very willing and enthusiastic help.

The reasons are pretty obvious!

I didn't get any pictures of Secondo except his hand, but he has been a right hand indeed! He even volunteered to take the 3 am shift, but the lambs are still so tiny and fragile that we didn't want him to make an unwelcome discovery. The runt, born at 4 lb, the smallest lamb ever on our farm, is particularly touch and go.

We are all a little touch and go as we try to work out these demands in light of new schedules, Jasmine included.


  1. Congratulations! Prayers coming for health and safety for the little lambs. Love to you.

  2. Oh no! I can't begin to imagine how to deal with quads. Sending good thoughts that things work out.

  3. If anyone can pull this off, your crew can! Maybe the rest of the ewes will do things a little more traditionally. I hope things go well for your new foursome. They are stunning!

  4. Wow...Keep us updated on what happens with them when you get time...All I can think of is that beautiful dark wool :-)

  5. So you now have rams again, acc. to your record book! Jasmine saw to it.