Yesterday evening I got a return call from my shearer. “I’ll be there Friday morning, between nine and ten.”
When I went down to the barn last night, I informed the ewes, “Better shake a leg, girls! Roger is coming and you definitely don’t want to be put on your bottom for shearing when you’re carrying a wide load!”
Very early this morning I opened the barn to hear the reedy cry of a newborn lamb. Two lambs, in fact. And naturally, yes — Bean, my only pregnant ewe not in a jug, was the mother. Very funny, God.
I threw all the animals in the barn a flake of hay to distract them and then lured Lily out of her jug and into the barn aisle, while carrying the two damp lambs into the empty jug to lure Bean in. The lambs wailed in distress, Bean bleated to them anxiously, the older ewes baa-ed sympathetically around their mouthfuls of hay. There was a bit of chaos when Lily, nervous to find herself alone in the aisle, tried to jump back into the small jug with Bean, almost squashing the newborns. However I managed to get everyone sorted.
The lambs are both rams. The first born weighed 6 lbs 10 oz, the second, 7 lbs 2 oz. Together they are only slightly heavier than Blossom’s big single ram. Like her mother, Blossom, Bean has a small udder with tiny, tiny teats. As I struggled to get the lambs latched on for the first time, I reflected that I now had three generations of this frustrating udder/teat combination: Blossom, her daughter Bean, and (presumably) her granddaughter, Chai. Both Blossom and Bean have been fine mothers in the past — and very precocious: both lambed as hoggets. However this is the first set of twins. I will want to watch the lambs to make sure they get enough milk to thrive. I will not be keeping any more ewe lambs from this line.
Still, it’s an impressive job on the part of Vanilla Bean. She’s now given me three lambs before her second birthday.
My new homemade stanchion worked perfectly to hold her while I trimmed the wool around her hindquarters, to make her bag more visible. Twins 04 and 05 both nursed without fuss or drama. What a relief!
Lucy is sad because she knows that starting this year, I will only be retaining purebred Clun Forest ewe lambs. It’s possible that both Lily and her mother, Blackberry, my two pregnant Clun ewes, will give me ram lambs. In that case, I will not be retaining any of this year’s offspring. My hope is to eventually have a flock of pure Clun Forest ewes.