Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's Lambing Time! - Part 2

I was being given a tour of a neighbor's sheep barn (see Part 1, yesterday's post). We'd toured the different pens and then returned to the first pen, which had a newborn lamb still covered with afterbirth. It was searching for milk, but this was not its mother. Of course it was also at the wrong end of the ewe, but she wouldn't have had any milk anyway:

We couldn't find the lamb's mother and I was told that we'd need to identify her while she still had afterbirth hanging out of her back end. Once it was gone, we'd be unsure who was the lamb's mother:

So the farmer went in the pen and began moving them back and forth. I also kept a watch:

And Sadie, the wonder dog, also kept a watch, at least when she wasn't down the aisle playing with the horses:

The farmer set up a small enclosure to keep the lamb from being trampled while we searched for its mom:

When mama had been located, she was moved with a shepherd's crook and penned in a corner with her lamb. She showed no maternal instincts and the lamb seemed confused. The farmer said she'd come back in an hour and, if there'd been no progress, she'd hold the lamb up for its first few feedings, hoping for the maternal hormones to kick in:

Once the new lamb had been taken care of, we went back to the sheep in the small pen. There were three ewes and three lambs, each a different color, though they don't show well in this photo. There was a black lamb, a white lamb and a blond (sort of golden) lamb:

I was especially taken by the black lamb:

And then I was introduced to her horses. This was her riding horse, a tame and gentle soul who loved to play with Sadie, the dog:

This horse was not so well trained and had just been sold that very morning to the Amish man down the road. He specializes in training horses:

We stood at the back door to the barn and looked out over the fields. This, she said, is why her sheep were not allowed outside right now. The mud presented more than a cosmetic danger. It could get up in the ewes' udders and cause mastitis. There's a lot to know and a lot to do in caring for sheep. I think my beef cattle are much easier. But I was grateful for the tour and sure enjoyed seeing the animals:

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