Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lambing live

Some slight difficulties ensued yesterday when lambing season began here on the farm. We normally "schedule" our lambs for the college's Spring Break, by allowing the ram access for "tupping" exactly five months before. Unfortunately, the first two ewes to give birth hadn't read the calendar, and as a result my teaching was almost interrupted.

The first two, to older ewe Quinn, came before class. Actually, we don't know when they were born, but they were waiting for me at feeding time this morning. That gave me just enough time to sort them into a lambing pen and provide the mothers a separate feed and hay and water facility before my 8am class.

The second two, to first-time mom Tia, came during faculty meeting time. Aimee was home with Roo, and tried to manage while also holding the baby, but needed help and emailed me. Luckily there wasn't any item I particularly wanted to vote on or debate, so I raced home. These two lambs were cold and slow and wet and needed to be placed on the mother's teat and helped to begin feeding, not something you should attempt while holding a six month old since it requires wrestling the mother to the ground.I was able to get it all sorted in time for my 12.30 pm Physics lab.

It's now nearly midnight, and while I've had a few hours sleep, I'm also up again, first to cut off a couple of lambs' tails, their mother having bitten them both to the point of bleeding. This is something sheep mothers sometimes do. We use elastrator bands to stop the bleeding. All that accomplished, I managed to sneeze on my way back to bed and wake our own baby, so now I'm working on getting her back asleep.

Such is the life on the farm, but at least there's new life, both human and sheepish.

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