Lambing Season

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know lambing season is in full throttle around here.  I try to leave these weeks as open as I can so I can help Dad in the barn.  These weeks are intense, tiresome and sometimes frustrating weeks.  But, I also wouldn’t trade helping with lambing for anything.  Except maybe my warm bed…..

spring lambing

This year, due to various reasons, we have quite a few babies that we are bottle feeding.  One, Sunny, is a little orphan, her momma and two siblings didn’t make it through.  And then there’s Wake Up, who was a triplet from a momma who didn’t have enough milk for three babies.  Sunny and Wake Up live together in a lambing pen, so cute and so eager for their next feeding.  You can watch a cute video of Sunny and Wake Up with Hannah HERE.

 

Then there are the ones who are with their mommas, which works pretty well.  Sheep love to be with other sheep and the babies seem to thrive in amongst the other mommas and babies.  Saddle and Saddle Pad (blame the horse crazy 9 year old for those names) get some milk from their momma but not enough so they get fed, too.  Osmosis is with her momma, again a momma without quite enough milk.  And there’s two other little nameless babies who we feed, too….although we refer to their momma as Jones.

lambing season

Even though those bottle babies are with their moms, they quite eagerly greet us when we arrive with the bottles filled with milk, any time of day….or night!  All the babies will blat and carry on like they weren’t just fed 4 or 5 hours before, like they’ve never had a meal…ever!  And even with their round little bellies,  they will still try to convince you they haven’t been fed.  These little babies, as much as a nuisance they can be for a farmer, they hold such a draw.  They pack so much personality into those tiny little lambie bodies and I’ll admit, they certainly help when the alarm goes off at 1 or 2 am.

 

The girls love coming to the barn to help feed babies and do the chores with Dad.  And they are so much older now and really make a big difference in how quickly chores get done.  They ask lots of questions about the sheep and the whole lambing process.  They have learned to look for clues as to who is lambing or if a ewe that had one baby might have more.  They can tell us if it’s a ram or ewe lamb.  They know we needle them with Selenium the day they arrive, and tag them just before they leave the lambing pens.  Hannah has learned to climb over the wobbly lambing pen and we quite often will find her snuggling with Sunny and Wake Up.

spring lambing

They think they are just doing chores but I know they are learning valuable life lessons out there in the barn.  They learn compassion and care for animals, they are learning the birds and bees, they are learning hard work and helping others.  They learn about life and death, about health and about the life of a farmer.  They see how hard their Opa works and cares for his flock.

spring lambing

Lambing is half over for this year.  More babies arrive every day.  The work isn’t over.  The cuteness will continue.  These babies will grow up, some will stay on the farm and have babies of their own next year, some will go to other farmers and some will go to market.  That is the reality of a sheep farm.  And I’m okay with that.

If you were around last year, you might remember Sweet Willow, who was a bottle baby from last year.  Sweet Willow was purchased by Hannah, but stays with Dad’s sheep on the farm.  We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sweet Willow’s baby!  Hannah can hardly contain herself!  I’ll keep you posted…

lambing season

This year, I’ve been doing the middle of the night feedings and barn checks to help Dad out.  This means my alarm goes off between 1 and 3 am every night { morning? } and I pull on the smelly barn clothes and hop in my cold car and drive to the farm.  I walk into a quiet, peaceful barn filled with life.  As I flick on lights and make my way through the barn, I hear the soft noises the mommas and babies use to communicate with each other.  I hear the crunch of sheep chewing their cud.  When the bottle babies realize feeding time is here, they carry on like fools, trying their best to get as close as they can through gates and fences.  Sometimes, in a dark corner, I hear the soft bleating of a brand new baby or babies as they try to find their footing in this world, trying to find their way to the nourishing udder of their momma.  Sometimes I’m even greeted by the sound of a momma working hard to bring new life into the world, and that never gets old.  Yes, I’m tired.  Yes, there are times it is hard to leave my warm bed.  But I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  I gladly offer this help to my father, who has for 40 years, offered his help to me in so many ways.  It’s my turn.

Of all the signs of Spring I look for, I enjoy the birth and renewed hope that lambing season on Dad’s farm brings.

To be continued,

Lori

PS I apologize for the sometimes out of focus pictures, the babies move fast and the barn is dim, so lighting is tricky!