Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Lambs! By, Emily ;)

The thing I LOVE about living on a farm is all the unexpected things that happen.... life is so exciting and never dull around here. We have a ewe named Nancy who was going to be butchered this fall, but was unusually.... large. Very large. Sometime last summer she got pregnant when she wasn't supposed to. We were expecting lambs, but didn't really have any idea when they would arrive. Nancy also has had mastitis, so her udder does not "work" any more. We bought milk and colostrum replacer and were all ready.

Yesterday morning I went out to milk and as I walked to the pen to get Milly, I heard this low "mmmmm" like the Mama sheep make when they're "talking" to their babies. I thought "maybe she had her babies" , but I figured she probably didn't because I thought that EVERY morning. :) Well I walked up to the pen, hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe she had popped. Looking over the gate, I saw Nancy, looking a little thin, standing facing away from me. I peered around her and saw a LAMB, standing up, looking for breakfast!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it!!!! I was SO surprised!!! I opened the gate and ran into the pen. I felt like screaming for joy, but instead I looked for more lambs. :) Over in the other corner was one.... it looked really dead. I picked it up. It was SO weird what happened! It's head moved a little, but the rest of it's body stayed in the same position!!!I It was FROZEN, literally!!!! I've never seen a frozen lamb... it was really scary. But it was alive. I ran out of the barn and looked around in the yard. There was another lamb lying by the door, looking a little more alive, but not much. I scooped it up too. Then I looked around the rest of the yard. Nothing else. I ran to the gate and yelled for Dad as loud as I could, but he was in the house still and didn't hear me. So I ran into the milk room and put them both on a towel next to the heater. Then I opened the door and yelled for Dad again. This time he heard me and I said "she had her lambs!!! But their really cold!!!" Then I got the other lamb, who was walking around and doing fine, and put it in a pen with Nancy. Then Dad came finally and had a big heater, so we warmed them up.

The one that was really dead-looking, her legs were literally frozen. They were cold and stiff and wouldn't bend or anything. It was SO weird. I held her legs in my hands to try and thaw them, and we were drying them off with the hair dryer, and eventually her legs could move. So about a 1/2 an hour later Dad went out to feed the sheep while we were still busy warming them up. He came back in a couple minutes.... HOLDING A LAMB!!!!! I couldn't believe it. He and I and BOTH searched the yard, in fact I had searched it twice!!! When he was feeding the sheep, Dad heard this little "maa". He thought it was one of the big lambs, but then when he was leaving he heard it again. He looked around, and then he saw it... it was stuck in between the water tank and the fence!!! I'm so glad we found it before it froze!!! It was still wet, and starting to get little icicles on it's wool. But it was doing really well... a 8 pound little boy. So three boys and one girl.... the little girl is 5 pounds, then the boys are 7, 8, and 10 pounds! Also, I must add that this is the first time we have had four live lambs born from one ewe.

None of them would eat from the bottle when we first tried to feed them, so for the first time in Housman Farm History, we used a scary device called a "lamb saver". It is basically a plastic cup with a long rubber tube that has holes in the end attached to it. Dad told me that we were going to have to use it, and showed me how to hold the lamb. As he began to slide the tube down the lamb's throat, I asked, "Is this dangerous?", to which he replied, "Not if you know what you're doing." So I asked him if he knew what he was doing and he said, "No!" :( The danger is if you slide the tube into the lungs instead of the belly, and when you pour the milk in it will drowned the lamb. But it went well, and we now have done the procedure several times with success. :)

We are keeping them in the milk room, in a little sectioned-off pen in the corner. There's a heater in there, so it's nice and toasty. :) I'm having a blast bottle feeding them! Me and Daddy have been getting up in the night to feed them, which is SO fun. Now we just have to think of some nice "Christmasy" names for them. :) I bought some little jingle bells to put on them too. :)

So thus concludes the latest adventure on the farm. :) I'm just LOVING my new job as a mama. :) They're just the sweetest little things ever. :) I'm SO blessed to live on a farm. :) Yahooo! :)

1 comment:

April said...

Emily, this is such a remarkable story!!! I love how everything was timed so perfectly to save all four!! Very amazing! God is so good!

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