After I turned the teen ewes outside yesterday, I decided to winkle Blackberry, who still hadn’t lambed, out of the far jug in the barn and back into the main sheep stall to allow her to stretch her legs.
Unfortunately Blossom took exception to this after three days as Top Ewe, and began to pistol-whip Blackberry with her head and then ram her in the belly for good measure. This didn’t seem like a healthy program for a heavily pregnant matron, so I coaxed Blackberry out again and put her in the teen stall for the day. At evening chores I returned her to the near jug. Lambing season is musical stalls around here.
Early this morning when I opened the barn all was quiet. No lambs crying. Rats, I thought. I walked to the back of barn and tossed everyone a bite of hay to keep them patient while I milked Katika.
“Blackberry, old girl, when are you going to —”
Blackberry moved. Behind her stood twin lambs. Born in the night, washed, dried, and fed by Blackberry. No towels necessary, no trimming of the udder, no bottles, no drama. Just a dip of the umbilical cords in iodine, a quick weight check, and right back to Mama.
What a good girl.
Last year Blackberry lambed the afternoon of March 1. This year it was about 12 hours plus a year to the day later. Talk about clockwork!
She had a black ram lamb, 10 lbs 2 oz, and a white ewe lamb, 9 lbs 5 oz. They are both purebred Clun Forest sheep. Both will end up white with black points. And — another Clun ewe lamb! A keeper! Hooray! Lucy will be so happy. Blackberry is five years old and has now given me three purebred ewe lambs in three years.
As an experienced mother Blackberry was watchful but unexcited when Flossie decided to stop by for a drink…
…and never turned a hair when Belle, the Ameracauna chicken, also dropped in. (This is the hen that was so ugly in molt when we got her that Lucy named her Belle — “for encouragement.”)
Belle sat down in Blackberry’s pile of breakfast hay, testing to see if it would be a good place to lay an egg. Blackberry merely watched patiently.
She even stood still while, next, Belle rooted around under her chest, checking if the darkness under a sheep’s fleece might actually be a more attractive egg-laying venue. Nor did Blackberry flinch when the bird-witted hen then changed plans entirely and jumped up onto her woolly back to hop out of the jug.
What a good, good girl!