Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Lambing updates

We had another delivery this morning -

Ewe 2836 gave birth to a ram lamb and a ewe lamb. It was my first "assist" as the ram lamb's head was blocking the way out. I helped because I could see he was cyanotic, his little blue tongue poking out the side of his mouth and his front feet tucked under his chin. His sister popped out behind a few minutes later, no complications.


The newly named Matilda (Thank you, Hazel!) is doing much better. Eudora eventually rejected her (the smell of the fly strike chemical masked Matilda's smell and Eudora didn't recognise her) but she is adapting to life as an orphan lamb. It's just one more hardship for her to endure. I spent yesterday teaching Matilda to take a bottle. I'm not sure there was much instruction on my part, just perseverance and begging. She's starting to get the hang of it and at 12 midnight last night, for the first time in her life, she finally had a full belly of milk.

I had to wait til she peed so she'd stand still for a photo. Excuse thumbs.
Double phew.

Even Ewe 0004 with pneumonia is on the mend. I know this because she was hard to catch this morning, especially as I forgot my sheep bait - a bucket with a few handfuls of barley in it, to lure them in and distract them while I jab, prod, or shear.

And that squab? I let him out of his coop four days later, rested from whatever illness or trauma befell him.

Like the spell of warm weather that's arrived, I'm going to enjoy the respite while it lasts. At dinner recently, I asked my friend Annette how long she's been keeping sheep. "Twenty-seven years", she said. I asked her if she ever had a really bad year. "Oh God yes! Many. But I remember we had one year when everything went to plan, no complications." So, according to her experience, the odds of having a carefree lambing season are in the region of 26 to 1. Against.

I know already this isn't going to be my year, but that just means I have that one to look forward to, someday.


CZLion said...

Oh, eh! I'm so pleased she is doing better and oh so cute! She'll make a good mother herself one day.

Thanks for the update. JW

Kate said...

Oh, so good to hear these updates! You must be doing some things right, Jen. This hasn't, by any stretch of the imagination, been my year either. But it's inspiring to hear that someone else out there keeps going with 26:1 odds against. If you'll keep at it, I'll keep at it. For now.

Jen said...

Kate - It's a deal. As long as you promise to keep writing about it for us.

Hazel said...

I'm glad they all seem to be doing what they're supposed to do at the moment!

I do feel I kind of cornered you into naming the lamb Matilda- I hope you don't mind! I haven't told my eldest daughter yet that she now has a lamb named after her...

Jen said...

Hazel - We are grateful for any help naming our menagerie, and most peoples' suggestions are far more apt and clever than what we can come up with (hence Ewe 2836..).

Mike jumped on the name Matilda when I told him it means little battle maiden. And I think Matilda has certainly earned it! I hope your daughter won't mind sharing it?

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

EWE 2836... sounds like the inmate numbers they give on some of the shows I watch occasionally. Poor thing. How MANY of these unnamed beauties do you have? I'm SURE we could do better than 2836, even if numbers are easier to remember! (I am down to only 11 chickens, and only 8 of them have names I can remember. The other ones are just sort of, well, chickens.) And it took us until Sunday to name the grey kitten that was born July 1st. A Dr. Who episode gave us the name, of all things!!
PS - HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY. I hope it had it's moments that made it stand out as a GOOD day (not including the poop through the Crocs, etc.!) Hugs from here to there.

BilboWaggins said...

Try not to dwell on what might have gone wrong, self-fulfilling prophecy and all that.

Matilda is eating, that's a success. You saved the first ram this morning - without you both lambs would have died and the ewe wouldn't have been too well either.

I'd count that as three SUCCESSES so far, four if you include no more poop on your Crocs ☺

Hazel said...

Matilda the lamb is cute enough (and with a good enough history) that DD1 is more than happy to share her name, she says!

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Considering everyone seems to be on the rebound, I'd say you've done well for what you had to deal with!

Paula said...

I like Mathilda- that's pretty cute, and so is she. I'm so RELIEVED that she's going to be ok!

Harvest Kitchen Sisters said...

Ah, farm life it never ceases to amaze! I just had to clip all 99 of my heritage turkeys the other morning (in the dark- the are less flighty/easier to catch) because they were flying all over the farm. I am getting closer to the idea of lamb or goats though, I just don't think there is enough hours in the day for that right now. Oh! and because of you I am thinking about getting my hunting license! Matilda- great name- I am currently reading that book to my son- maybe she will be a little genius too!

CZLion said...

Mademoiselles -:

I think you all may enjoy this book review. I have no daughters and my sons and DIL's have no desire to follow in my persist so will share this with you. I haven't checked that book ordering site for this but will shortly.


What a week - been subbing middle schoolers and it's wearing me down. I look forward to pheasants opening soon but this weekend will
go to Westport to buy a tuna to bottle.

All this talk of lambs has me hankering to do a Provencal leg of lamb, as well.

Regards, JW

CZLion said...

You might like this.... this is what we do with old wild birds.

Today I got one pass shot at a rooster and killed it. It was rainy and cold and not the best day to be a foot.

Pheasant Supreme

Boil one pheasant and pick the bones after cooling. I usually pick out a tough old bird for this but young is fine.

1 quart of stock
Salt and pepper
4-6 cups of dressing (it is up to you but make sure you keep it moist)

Put the dressing in a cake or lasagna pan.

In a pan, heat up 1/4 - 1/2 stick of butter and sauté celery, onion, and sage as you would do for your favorite dressing recipe. Pour over dressing.

Place boned pheasant over the dressing mixture.

Make a thin gravy out of your stock and pour the dressing and pheasant.

Bake, covered (aluminum foil) 45 minutes @ 350 degrees F.

I make extra gravy out of chicken stock to serve at the table.