From 12 – Twenty-TWO: The Flock Grows, Chapter 2

This post starts with a note:  the lambing series was originally named “From 12 – 21:  The Flock Grows”, but I have had to update the title.  If these types of farm goings-ons interest you at all, stay tuned for the last lamb in a very-near-future post.  If it all just sounds too mundane and confusing, come on back to the farm after the lamb updates and we’ll bring you other farm and family tales!

To resume…

Last I’d left off, nearly a week ago, the report from the farm was about the twin ram lambs that Nikki brought into the world.  Dickens and Oliver are now a week and 3 days old and have been getting good round the clock feedings from their birth mama and adopted mama.  There were some exasperating hours in and around the first 2 days of their lives and I am happy it is now just a memory.

Char, trying to get Oliver to take a bottle while Maggie, the dry-but-doting granny-nanny, looks on. Note the Red Sox pajama bottoms that are all the rage in barn-wear during the week of Opening Day at Fenway Park 🙂

At night checks on the Friday evening that Dickens and Oliver joined us, March 30th, Jim hurried me out of the house to see Pansy finishing up with delivering her first-born, a ram lamb we named ‘Tolkien.’  Pansy and Nikki are twins, as you may remember from previous sheep posts, and so we thought it fitting that in their first year of lambing they decided to birth their babies on the same day.

Pansy and her new ram lamb, 'Tolkien'

The next day, Saturday, Char and I reclaimed some strong iron sheep panels which had been reinforcing areas of fencing weakened by last year’s athletic jumping sheep and we turned a horse stall into a very posh lambing nursery.  We cleaned all of the bedding out of the large sheep stall, the old goat stall and the lambing jug as well.  We paused in the afternoon to “Bowl for Kids’ Sake” with my youth group to raise money for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.  It is not necessarily relevant to this story that I happened to be on fire for that day’s bowling, but I can’t help but toot my own horn.  I think the improvement in my bowling is directly related to hauling bales of hay, grain, water buckets and shoveling manure.  Hidden benefits of chores.

Farmer Tam, bowling strikes!

And my youth group had a jolly time helping to make a difference in Bennington County.

Maggie & Oliver, Nikki & Dickens(out of view) and Pansy & Tolkien in the Nursery which Char & I designed and built using reclaimed sheep panels.

That evening, Char & I happened to be in the stall with Maggie when she began laboring, around 11 p.m..  By midnight Maggie had given birth to “Aisling“,(pronounced ASH-ling, Irish, and meaning ‘a dream or vision’), who was quite large compared to the other 3 lambs that were a full day older than she.  She was covered with a very yellowish birth sac which I’d not noticed with lambing in the past.  Maggie set to work right away grooming her all over and she nursed, hallelujah, nearly immediately after birth.

The moment of truth was on us – would Maggie now reject Oliver?  Or would she keep him on, especially now that we knew that she had a milk supply of her own to be counted on.

She did not reject him.  Phew!

An hour later, between 1 and 2 a.m., Maggie birthed Aisling’s twin, Seamus.  Oh my goodness!  He was absolutely runt-y compared to Aisling and just beautiful.

Maggie licks Seamus all over, just after lambing. Aisling is still yellow-ish from the birth sac membrane that is stuck to her wool. Notice how much larger she is than her twin, born just one hour later.

The moment of truth was upon us again.  Would she reject Oliver now?

She did not reject him!  Phew, again!  But, Maggie did decide to reject Aisling.  It only took about one hour for her to make that call after she’d delivered Seamus.  Char and I were confounded and troubled when we finally went to bed at somewhere near 3a.m. on April Fools Day.

I called in sick (with the flu) to church the next morning, where I teach a Sunday School class and sing in a choir, and began the day at 5:30 a.m. trying to figure out how to get Aisling the much-needed colostrum and feedings that I had been trying to get for Oliver only one day prior.  I had that “deja vu all over again” feeling…

Shetland lambs: Maggie nursing Seamus, a Katmoget ram lamb, Aisling, a Mioget ewe lamb, and adopted Oliver, a Moorit ram lamb

This Post Has 6 Comments

    1. Thanks, Julie! Aisling has taught us a lot in the week + 3 days since she arrived -can’t wait to share her stories!

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