Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Triplets

Last year, Lifa who was not yet a year old herself was the first to lamb and she had twins completely unassisted.  Normal is for ewes to have a single the first time they lamb.  I wondered if it was a sign of greater multiples to come...  What was also unusual is that she was only a lamb yet was the first to have lambs.  She had them April 11 last year.  The earliest I have ever had lambs is April 1.

Until now.  I awoke this morning to a very dirty white lamb.  Although Lifa had 'bagged out' (shepherd talk meaning that her udder was full of milk), because of my previous experience, I was not expecting her to lamb for another week or two.  Two days ago, her udder became so huge, it looked like she had lambed already and they had been sucking on it.  Now I know...

The ground here is still mostly frozen with a thin layer of mud on top.  Normally I pitch fork all the winter's worth of dirty hay and manure out and lay down fresh straw just before lambing.  But that couldn't be done today.  And he was so filthy, I had to bring him in the house and give him a warm bath in the kitchen sink.  After a thorough towel and a nice warm blow dry he was ready to go back outside.  I came out to see this:


The next one on the way.  Here he is.  I had time to throw a bale of straw in there on top of the winter's worth of mess so he was much cleaner.  Still it was cold out there this morning - below zero.  I brought him in the house and towelled and blow dried (the only time I use my old blow dryer).  And yes, that is two white ram lambs like she had last year.  So, I assumed she was done.
The as yet unnamed second ram lamb.  He has a brown circlet that doesn't quite go all the way around.
The two brothers
I was watching out the window and saw something far too big to be a placenta fall out of her rear end.  I rushed out there.  When I first laid eyes on her, I thought she was a deformed blob of wool.  Then realized that she had been born with her head folded back (they're not supposed to be able to be born like that).  I unfolded her and scooped out the mucus from her mouth.  She looked dead and her head hung down limply like I have only seen on dead lambs.  But then there was a ferocious amount of kicking and thrashing.  She was alive!  I started rhythmically rubbing her and laid her down for Lifa to lick.  Soon she was holding up that limp head.  Now I have to say that she is the liveliest of the bunch.

I spent the next hour or so making sure they each got latched on.  The first little guy figured that out pretty quick and kept beating out the other two.  I put him in the house and put the teat right in the mouths of his younger siblings but before long they all had round full tummies. 

Little sister, the smallest and most spunky
Zeus doing his job
All of them
It's supposed to get down to -6 tonight and its already -3 at 11:45pm.  I will be checking on them again shortly.  So far they are all nestled deep in the straw and keeping warm.  Although, I must confess, I dug out the lamb fleece jackets I made many years ago when I used to get bummer lambs every spring.  Right now they are all in thick purple fleece.

And I gotta say that it is with a certain amount of pride that I watch Lifa with her triplets.  She is a product herself of this farm.  I pat myself on the back every year.  "Yup, I kept the right lamb... Look at her!  She had twins her first year; she lambs without assistance and now she has had the first successful triplets."  Good job, Lifa!

8 comments:

Sarah-Lynn said...

Yay for Lifa! It must have been fun to bathe them. That's a part I would enjoy. Are they all still unnamed? I can't wait to meet them!!

Andrea said...

The girl is Rosemary. The boys have yet to be named. Taking suggestions. Last year her lambs were Bjorn and Kebab.

Bethany said...

Hey why can't i name one since fub got to, huh? it's only fair. i feel sad i missed my chance. They are so cute!

Andrea said...

Hey, you were also offered the privilege last year as they were born on your birthday. But I never heard from you. But sure, go ahead and name these two. Just remember they are food.

amyleigh said...

They are so cute. Congratulations!

Laura said...

so exciting. my adrenaline levels would be off the charts. i think rosemary is the cutest. i like her birth story and that she's spunky. and black.

Andrea said...

Yes lambing is a certain rush and once it is all over, I am exhausted - like I've just given birth myself! And she looks black, doesn't she, Laura? But she's not. She's a dark chocolate brown. Yummy!

margot said...

So wonderful, love to read your story! I hope someday one of mine has triplets too........can't wait for the next ones to be born on my farm!