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Monday, May 10, 2010

Two down, one to go

Exams, that is.  I have a total of 3 final exams this semester, and I've completed two of them, the second one being this morning.  My last one is on Thursday, and I will be very glad to have that behind me.  Then the summer semester will begin, and I will have one exam on May 28, two in July, and another in August.  So, it doesn't really end.  However, the positive thing that I must focus on is that this coming summer is my last summer in law school, because next summer I'll be studying for the State Bar Exam, which is at once a relief that my classes will be finished, and a huge looming terror of an exam that lasts for multiple days and which, if I don't pass on the first time, will have to be taken again the next February.  Ugh.

Back to my title: two down, one to go....it's the same thing with the sheep!  Well, at least the "one to go" part.  Last time I blogged about lambs, Poppy had given birth to her single ram lamb, and I was waiting on my ewes who were not playing by the marking harness rules.  Paisley, Flurry, Oreo, Bianca and Buttercup were taunting me with their big bellies and full udders.  Since then....it's four down and one to go.  First, here's Poppy with her ram lamb, Paddington.  He's a very rapidly growing boy who runs like the wind.  He's going to be a big ram with a gorgeous fleece.
I'll start with the sad news.  Bianca tried to give birth on May 3 (her predicted day was May 9).  When Igot out to the barn, she had a partially birthed ram lamb hanging out of her, dead.  He had presented head first but with one leg back.  I am not sure if he was initially alive and because she could not get him out, he died, or whether he was already dead.  I suspect he was alive because he looked perfectly normal, so that makes me really sad.  He was, however, enormous.  It took a long time to slowly work him out of her, and by the time he was out, she just wandered off.  She didn't even turn to look.  I think she knew.  I checked her internally and she only had the one, so thankfully no more lambs were lost due to the difficulties with the first.  He would have been a whopping huge lamb.

In better, and surprising, news - Buttercup gave birth right on schedule to quadruplets on May 2!  She actually had quintuplets, but one was not fully formed in my opinion.  The 5th lamb was only about a pound - very tiny and a strange color.  This leads me to think it died in utero.  The 4 quads were incredibly active almost right away, and all were ready to nurse.  Here they are shortly after birth.
She had 3 ewes, weighing 5, 7, and 8 lbs, and a ram lamb weighing 8 lbs also.  They are Polypay-blue faced Leicester crosses.  Remarkably, Buttercup is having no problems keeping up with feeding all of them and they are growing like weeds.
 Here they are today - just as cute as can be!
They seem to show strong BFL characteristics in their fleece, but they have the Polypay head shape.  Their ears are more BFL in style, but smaller.
Following Buttercup's stellar performance, Oreo gave birth (nearly 2 weeks later than her supposed due date) on May 8 to the most spectacularly coloured lambs I've seen yet on the farm.  She carries the mouflon and spotting genes, and those showed nicely in her lambs.  Both lambs were 8 lbs and the ewe lamb is a gorgeous black and white spotted pattern.
She will probably be mostly grey as she gets older, but right now, she's just stunning.
Oreo's ram lamb is a beautiful mouflon with fawn under parts and some white on his head.  He, too, is just beautiful.
Both of Oreo's lambs were running around with her in the field at about 7 am when I went outside.  In fact, they were so active I had trouble catching them to weigh them!  They are Icelandic mule lambs, which means they are born to an Icelandic ewe who was bred to a blue faced Leicester ram.  Cesar the guardian llama was very interested in checking them both out and learning to know his new flock members.
Finally, Paisley clocked in on Mother's Day, May 9 (not her April 28 due date!!) as a first time mom with an adorable ewe lamb weighing 7 lbs.  She is black with a lot of white and tan "frosting" to her fleece.  She is a full blue faced Leicester lamb and will be registered along with the others soon.
So, the last hold-out is dear Flurry, who has always been one of my most rambunctious and difficult-to-handle sheep.  She is now in the lambing jug in the barn and I am trying to make the most of the opportunity of her forced confinement by spending time with her every day.  Sorry for the glowing eyes as a result of flash!
I have actually made considerable progress in being able to touch her.  She will now allow me to give her neck rubs, which she never would have deigned to permit when I first got her a couple of years ago.  I'm really pleased with this progress and I'm trying to show her that being with people is not the dreadful thing she thought it was.  She was a survivor of a pack of 3 Saint Bernard dogs who attacked her flock, killing 3 of the 6 sheep.  It's no wonder she was skittish to start with.  My hope is that she will continue to mellow out with time.  She's the only one in my flock with the phaeomelanin gene, which is something I'd like to perpetuate.  We'll see what she does with her first lamb, probably in the next few days.  Stay tuned!

10 comments:

Michelle said...

You really are on the homeward stretch with your schooling; I am so impressed with all you do! I have one last hold-out here, too, but she may lamb earlier than I initially thought. That would be nice - especially if there's a girl in there!

Chai Chai said...

Wow, those black and white lambs are beautiful. The quad's are great news, but the loss of the large ram and the tiny fifth are always sad.

Piscataway said...

Good luck with your test. It can be a challenge to do schooling and farming at the same time. I agree that the the black and white lamb is stunning.

polly's path said...

All the babies! You are right, Oreo's-I have never seen anything like them. So pretty, and so unique. Congrats! Your farm has enjoyed a great Mother's day/week/month, it seems.
And I am sorry about the little ones who didn't make it.

Flartus said...

I love spring...but there's so much going on, it's amazing we survive it! So many adorable little babes--I love the pic of the quads nursing, with their curious eyes checking you out.

Here's a big ol' "bon courage pour la suite!!!" I can't imagine how you get it all done--do Canadian days have more hours in them or something?

colorandtexture said...

Oh, you are amazingly busy, girl!!!! Your sheepies are darling!! Hang in there with school--the end is in sight!

Kelly said...

Such wonderful news despite the losses. We've only lost chickens and turkeys on our "farm", and those to predators except for 2 that fell in the stock tank and drowned. I think it would be hard to deal with death at birth. Sounds like you are holding up well though.

All these cute little babies makes me want to grow our farm just so I can have babies in the spring!

Mom L said...

Claire, thanks for the summary and update! I am sorry for the losses, but I know from reading here that it's to be expected on the farm. You do have gorgeous babies now, and I hope the last birth(s) will be the same. I so admire your dedication to law school as well. You rock, Claire!

Nancy in Iowa

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Poppy has a very delightful "goatie" expression. hee hee Such lovely moms and babies! Best of luck on your exams, Claire! Rub a goat's head for luck!

My Life Under the Bus said...

Those Mamas all deserve a medal !!! Oreo's lambs are just gorgeous !!!