Frozen first lambs

On Thursday, I finished morning chores at Fat Toad Farm where I work.  Ready to proceed to my personal sheep chores, I tried to start the available vehicles at Fat Toad Farm, but none would start.  I convinced my coworker Calley to bring me down and maybe photograph my sheep a little, as her car was warmed up and ready to go.

We opened the barn door, and I thought “who left those white rags in here?”.  Seconds later, I was grabbing a nearly frozen lamb and assessing a second as already dead.  Stuffing the lamb in my sweater, Calley and I ran for the house.  I rubbed my little ram lamb down, cleaning him and drying his soaking wool.

Dot’s little boy, asleep in the hay

Once we were comfortable that he was dry, we put him back with Dot, his mom.  We lured her into the separated lambing pen by leaving him alone.  Once he bleated, she baahed a deep, guttural groan and ran to him.  When I had taken the dead, frozen lamb away and collected myself, I prepared to dip the new lambs navel.  Dot, now having fully bonded with her little one, would have NONE of it.  She rammed the too-thin gate separating us, and stepped back to ram if I even began to dangle my arm in to touch her little lamb.  I was worried that the lamb hadn’t nursed yet, but Dot’s fury forced me to set aside my anxiety and accept that she would feed the lamb as best she could.  There would be nothing I could do unless I could find two giant burly people to restrain her.  So we checked them, and checked, and checked, and sure enough the lamb was still living, each time we went down.  It had clearly figured out how to nurse.

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“Touch my lamb…I *dare* you…

As night fell, the temperature plummetted.  The wind chill reached -25, the air hovered around -5 and -10.  At 3am, the lamb huddled in the hay but looked healthy and alive.  Still alive at 7am.  I concluded that he was a) eating well and b) bullet proof, so I stopped bugging them about his wellbeing.

At 2:30 today, Janet had a ram lamb.  Lots of little boys around this barn- here’s hoping for some little ladies!

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Janet’s GIANT ram lamb, still yellow with meconium

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