Ups and Downs with Our Sheep

On January 13th, one of our ewes, Big Mama, gave birth to two lambs, a ram and a ewe. It was cold and rainy, but we try not to baby our animals so we didn’t do anything extra other than make sure they had plenty of drinking water and corn.

The next morning, the ewe baby was stuck hanging upside down from the hay feeder. Who knows how long she had hung that way. Once I rescued her, she was unable to walk on her own and Big Mama wasn’t interested in her. We brought her into the house and started bottle feeding her. A few hours later she was fine. Her inability to walk may have been her legs just gone numb from being constricted. We put her back outside, she and mama went back to nursing, and all was well.

A ewe lamb indoors in a dog crate

The next morning, both of the lambs were dead. Our best guess is that it was simply too cold and wet for Big Mama to keep them well. It had been raining for quite awhile. We were pretty upset.

A couple of days later our other ewe, Mary, gave birth to two lambs, a ram and a ewe. We went all out to keep them warm. We opened up their enclosure so that it contained the pig shed for shelter, we made them a big bed of dry straw, and we even hung a warming light. And we got the babies sweaters!

Two lambs in sweaters

We were determined to have these lambs live. And they did.

We were planning to keep both of these lambs. It’s considered acceptable to inbreed one generation – related ewe lamb to ram in our case – but it would certainly be even more ideal to have no shared genetics. Joshua had the awesome idea to put up a Craigslist ad looking for a one-to-one trade with someone else’s ewe lamb. Surely someone out there was in the same situation, and sure enough. Someone replied, and in a couple of weeks when our ewe lamb is fully weaned, we’ll be trading for someone else’s ewe.

The ram lamb is now ball-less, making him a whether instead of a ram. We’ve named him Buddy since his purpose in life is to be a companion to Buck.

The lambs are growing fast. You can see them here on top of the hay with their mother, Mary.

Three sheep on top of a hay bale