Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A baby lamb in time for Christmas!

There is nothing sweeter in the animal kingdom than babies.  Little baby Hubert is no exception.  He is a mischievous and playful little guy and we're already falling in love.  

Sometimes the best way to do things isn't exactly how they happen...and such was the case with our newest ewe Juliette.  We bought her from a friend who had left the ram running with the ewes all summer so he had no idea when she was due to lamb just that she looked good and pregnant.  She's a purebred Canadian, has been a mom before and had a sweet disposition - exactly the character traits I was looking for.


We'd been checking her often the last few weeks and expecting a baby-any-day.  Nothing.  Nothing. Nothing. I was getting just a little concerned because we have a weekend away planned and I didn't want to worry about lambing in the middle of our 25th anniversary dinner! Thankfully that won't be a problem.  My DS was putting the animals in for the night and came running back to tell me that Juliette was going to have her baby any minute.  Hurrah!

One of my beautiful daughters with 2 day old Baby Hubert
Such excitement!  We missed all the other births because they happened in the middle of the night so I really was hoping to be here for this one.  We got back to the barn just in time.  DS had already moved momma into the lambing jug to keep the other sheep at a distance. A lambing jug is a small enclosure - about 4 feet square - that provides a safe place for momma and baby to be for a few days after the birth while they bond.  It might have been better if she hadn't been confined before the birth but by the time I got there it was going to happen any minute so we just left her in the jug  

As soon as we got there I could see tiny hooves appearing - everything was happening exactly the way it should.  A few minutes later baby Hubert arrived into the world and all was well.  

I am just amazed at how energetic he was - struggling to get up on his feet and succeeding in less than 5 minutes.  He was wobbly to be sure but even that didn't last long.  Momma was doing her job licking him clean and very attentive and careful as she moved around the pen.  It didn't take long for him to figure out how to nurse...it really is a wonderful experience to be sitting on straw in a dimly lit pen with the wind whistling outside and animals surrounding you watching a miracle happen.

All the sheep and Maybe the donkey had their heads over the rails to watch what was going on.  They were very interested in the new arrival and when he wobbled over near the corner of the jug they all took turns sniffing him.  It was so sweet to watch them welcoming the newest member of their family to the world.  

I thought Juliette was for-sure going to have twins.  She was huge!!  I waited and waited to see if another baby was coming but after a few hours I concluded that was it.  I went to check on her several times that night and at 11 pm I finally decided all was well and it was time for bed.  We left a heat lamp on all night but he was toasty warm every time I checked.

Hubert's fate is still up in the air.  His bloodlines are pure-bred Canadian and he will likely sire bigger lambs than our Shetland ram Mr. Sheepie ever will.  Should we keep him?  Should we sell him? Decisions decisions!

Another successful birth and addition to Shalom Engedi Farm and I am happy to report I lost a lot less sleep over this birth than the previous ones!  I think I'm getting the hang of this farmer bit and I can tell you it's better than I ever imagined!


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