You can’t miss a goat in labor. She paws at the ground, yawns, lies down, stands up, turns around, yawns, you get the idea. There is usually a dramatic string of goop coming out the back, and a huge, turgid udder too.
I checked the flock at 10 yesterday morning, looking for goop, sheep by themselves, any kind of action. I didn’t see a think. Neither did Jake, checking his own sheep later that afternoon. In point of fact, I didn’t notice anything different when I came down at 7, except more baaing, until I stepped into the hay area and noticed two baas that were much quieter and higher pitched. Huh.
Out I came with the hay, and there they were. Peggy, the mom whose giant udder has been evident for about two weeks, birthed two wonderful little ewe lambs. One is black and kind of shy. The other is white and friendlier. I’m actually having a little deja-vu (deja-ewe?) because last year, Peggy also had two little ewe lambs, a shy black one (Esther( and a friendly white one (Ida). She seems to have an idea of populating my flock singlehandedly!
They were both up and about, but their pinched tummies told me that neither had quite figured out nursing yet. I easily penned them, as Peg is a friendlier sheep and a devoted mother. Peggy stomped protectively and butted me gently away from her lambs, but it seemed almost that she realized my intent to assist and soon stood easily as I guided her lambs to her low-slung teats. “You need longer legs, Peggy!” I told her.
I admit I took advantage of the situation, and selfishly stole the white one to cuddle on my lap. She smelled of sweet milk and hay and her coat, though rough with dried birth-crud, will hopefully become one of the nicest fleeces around with Earl Scruggs as her sire. She settled between my crossed legs and dozed a little while I scratched and petted her head gently. The black one was less keen to cuddle and responded immediately to her mother’s nicker. Oh well.
These two lambs beg two critical questions: 1) If I keep more sheep, where the heck will I put them? and 2) How do I “theme” the names? My first naming theme was intended to be “Mad Men Secretaries” kinds of names like Peggy and Shirley. Then, I went a generation or two older with Ida, Agnes, Minnie. My only hesitation in continuing with older-generation names is that LOTS of other sheep farms do the same thing. I don’t want people to get confused as to whether Mabel’s fleece came from some other farm or not.
I’m kind of thinking songbirds. Maybe Veery and Bobolink for these two? What do you think?
And so the late night and early morning checks begin. Getting there is going to be a challenge! Thank heavens and engineers for four wheel drive!