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Archive for May, 2016

Baby Updates

All is well on the baby front.  The lambs are growing like weeds, and learning the routine of the farm.

I used to be greeted by four hungry faces in the morning, but now this is what waits at the gate.

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Donald and Daisy having a snuggly nap.

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Itsy and Bitsy are too full of energy and curious to nap.

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We have new babies on the farm too.  You might remember that two winters ago I tried to bring some kittens home.  Well, I did bring them home, but ended up returning them to their mother.  Winter was not the time to introduce baby kittens to the farm.

Well, it’s spring now, so time to try again.

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The big difference this time (other than the season) is that these two babies are quite wild.  They have been living outside with their mother, and are not too keen on humans.  So there is a lot of hissing, and arching of backs whenever I get too close.

But…food is  big help.

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A bowl of warm milk, and some beef baby food, and maybe I’m not such a horrible thing after all.

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Mmmm, sure tastes good.  So hopefully with time and patience, these two babies will settle in, and learn the routines too.  No names yet since I haven’t gotten close enough to know if they are boys or girls.

Any tips and suggestions on taming wild kittens would be greatly appreciated!

Last but not least, Olivia and Lily are enjoying their last few days or weeks without their calves demanding their attention.  Just look at those baby bellies.

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I do have one unsuccessful baby story.  It has been 30 days since the hen began to sit on the duck eggs.  No baby ducks had hatched so yesterday, I opened the cage to see what she would do.  She promptly got up and walked out, leaving the six unhatched eggs.  So, no baby ducks.

Maybe next time.

 

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Last night I was woken from sleep by the sound of a sheep bleating.  I listened, and there it was again.  I looked at the clock, and groaned when I saw it was 1:30.

I listened for a while longer, hoping it was Cotton or Abbie calling one of their babies.  Alas, the bleating continued.

So I crawled out of bed, got dressed, added a head-lamp and went out to see what was happening.

It was Julie, preparing to give birth.

Well to make a long story short, I sat in the pen and listened to the loons on the lake, the snipes soaring above the fields, the frogs croaking, and the gentle murmurings of the other sheep, until 2:45 when Julie gave birth to a tiny girl.

I waited for a while, and let the two of them get to know each other and bond.  Then I picked up the lamb and led Julie into the pen in the barn.  I expected another lamb, so settled in to wait.  I waited, and waited, and worried and fretted, and tried to reassure myself that all was okay.  I thought about calling someone for assistance, but that wasn’t something I wanted to do at 4:30 in the morning unless it was really necessary.  I decided to wait until 5:00.  Abbie’s twins were born over two hours apart so maybe Julie’s would be the same. Just before my 5:00 a.m. deadline, I saw two feet and a head emerge.  Oh my, it was quite a big head.

Poor Julie was lying down and trying with all her might to push this second baby out, but with each contraction, the baby didn’t come out any further.

I climbed into the pen with her and when the next contraction came I gently pulled the lamb’s legs and shoulders.  A couple more contractions, and with my help the baby boy was born.  Julie was exhausted and didn’t even try to get up.  I moved the baby up near her head and she immediately began to clean him, murmuring all the time.

It took a little while but eventually she got up and got busy, mothering both the lambs.

A few hours later and the drama of the night was forgotten.

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Notice the older “cousin” sleeping on the other side of the pen.  I love to watch how the older lambs interact with the newborns. They are so inquisitive and try to get close right away.

I had barely gotten these three sorted out when I noticed that PJ hadn’t gone out to graze in the field with the others.  She was just standing around looking kind of dazed.

Eventually she walked into another pen on her own, so I closed the gate behind her and settled in for round two.  At least this one was during the day.  Everything seems easier during the daylight.

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PJ is a smaller sheep than the other three, this was her first pregnancy and I was a little concerned.

Well, no need to worry.  With no noise, no taking her time, no drama at all, PJ delivered a little girl and a little boy with no trouble at all.  Everything was over within an hour.

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The little girl was drinking within minutes and then settled in to rest,

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waiting patiently for her brother to make his appearance.

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While all this was going on the older babies were napping in the sun,

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not a care in the world.

So we are done.  All four sheep safely delivered twins, there are five girls and three boys.  My flock has grown from four to twelve, and I have learned a lot.

Stay tuned, the cows are due at the end of the month!

 

 

 

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And then there were two more,

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hidden away inside the lambing pen.  The week old cousins hanging out very close, checking out the newbies.

It was a very interesting birth.  First there was one, Annie.

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I was expecting a second one, but it never came.  I waited for forty-five minutes, before deciding there was only one, and moving Abbie and Annie into their own little pen in the barn.  Abbie was a great first-time mother, very attentive and watching out for her baby.

All seemed well, so I went in to the house to prepare supper.  I had guests, so couldn’t just hang out in the barn with the baby.  We had to eat.  As I prepared dinner, I popped out every twenty minutes or so to see how they were doing.  All was still well.

Imagine my surprise when I went out two hours later, and saw Annie napping in the corner and another little one having a drink.  Hello Audrey!

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Both babies are doing very well.  I let them out in to the big pen this afternoon to meet the rest of the flock.

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So, two down successfully, and two more to go.

So far, so good!

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I try to get out and go for a walk every day.  Sometimes I just get busy with other things though, and several days can go by without a walk.

Last night I promised Emma we would get out this morning and stretch our legs.

And so we did, and what did we see?

The baby lambs were busy exploring their new world.

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Jack was taking a break with his bird friends.

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Canada Geese were checking out the hay-field.

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We found the dandelions out in full bloom,

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and a beautiful path through the poplars.

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The most unexpected and best of all,

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a herd of elk.

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See what I would have missed if I hadn’t gone for a walk.

Did you go for a walk today?  If not, what did you miss?

 

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One Down, Three To Go

It has begun.  The lambs are arriving.  Yesterday Cotton gave birth to two beautiful little lambs.

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A strong, healthy boy with a mind of his own, and he is not afraid to say exactly what he is thinking.

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His name is Donald.

A petite, little girl with an endearing personality, just happy to be alive and engage with anyone or anything that comes along.

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Her name is Pixie.

Mother and babies are all doing very well,

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and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief.

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One down, and only three more to go.

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