Shepherds Watch Their Flocks By Night


4 of the 6 ewes that are due, plus Laurel who already delivered Mansfield on April 7th, tonight under the LambCam eye

From left to right, top:  Manny, the Merino lamb, Aisling, the Shetland ewe, Laurel, the Merino ewe, Pansy, the Shetland ewe  -Left to right, bottom:  Ruva, & Nikki, the Shetland ewes

This has been the first lambing season in 8 years that I haven’t had the flu and I haven’t had a sinus infection.  I attribute it to a few reasons, one of them being that I’m getting better at saying “no” and focusing on the work that I can handle without running myself into the ground, and the other is because of the LambCam.

The LambCam is my fancy remote camera system that allows me to check on the pregnant ewes at any hour of the day from my computer or, even, from an app on my mobile phone.  It’s easy on me, it’s easy on the ewes.  Instead of them blinking, bleary eyed from their stalls at all hours of the evening when I would check on them in the past years, they get to sleep soundly.  Or, chew their cud, or eat their hay, slurp their water, whatever their hearts’ desire without the sudden rumble of the big barn doors sliding back to allow me to enter the black, cold cave, flipping light switches and getting everyone confused about feeding time.

And, instead of me sleeping on edge and waking up to put on my coveralls, my neck warmer, my hat, my gloves, my big barn coat & boots to trudge out through the dark and cold night several times for 2 months to check on the ewes, I can roll over at all hours and press the button on my mobile app to tune in and watch the progress.  Sometimes I watch for fifteen minutes, sometimes five, depends on what time I awake.  If, early in the morning, I see that they’re settled and comfortable, then I might allow myself to stay settled and comfortable!

It’s been a boon to my health because I’m not getting chilled, and I’m getting probably twice as much sleep.  The frequent waking to check the camera is not nearly the disruption to my sleep as the getting out of bed and trekking to the barn was.  I am blessed with extra energy & experience combined with mom-skills that make my vocation a cake-walk.

O.k, that’s exaggerating.

Still, it does take the edge off of the exhaustion of lambing season since the advent of the cameras.  Additionally, I can watch Winky & Bunny, my two bossy Shetland ewes that don’t get along as well with the others, in their stall whilst awaiting their deliveries.

And, I can watch the Angora does in their stall whilst awaiting their deliveries!

It’s the best program on the internet, if you ask me.  🙂

Here’s a funny thing, though.  The cameras are always on, even though sometimes the internet connection goes down.  Anyone can tune in, at any time, and they might catch me, or my honorary-daughter Coco, doing chores or chatting with friends, or visiting with the animals.  Or you might catch someone else passing through.  Or we might be singing or dancing and almost always have a broom or a pitchfork or a shovel in hand.  You might see Princess Peppermint snuffle through, grunting and squealing and pushing her way into a stall to root for truffles(our general term for the many snacks she finds.)

Recently we’d gone out for a few hours in the afternoon and when we got home, the ewes were all running free in the yard.  Somehow their doors and gates had been opened wide, allowing them to have an Easter holiday.  Though I knew Coco had been by to visit her Fjord pony, Bert, that afternoon, I knew she wouldn’t have let the sheep out.  So there was a mystery to solve.

Last evening I had a few minutes to replay the video from that Sunday afternoon and could listen, as well as see, that the sheep had all been minding their business as I’d left them until 4:23 p.m..  At that time, a quiet grunt can be detected on the audio, and the rolling back of the stall doors can be seen on the video, as well as some very surprised and delighted ewes leaping forth and out of their stalls.!  After that, the camera just films empty stalls.

I’m pinning this one on the pig.  That strong snout of hers was all the tool she needed to work the sliding stall doors free off their latches, pushing them back to free her friends.  She’s extremely social, and I think she was lonely in my absence that afternoon.  I just wished I’d been a fly on the wall to see the ewes trot out into the sunlight and take in all that lawn before them.

If you want to spy on the ewes, via one of the LambCams, or the does, via the KidCam, visit our DropCam camera site and click on the camera of your choice.  If the internet connection doesn’t work sometimes, just try back again later.  It seems no matter what I do to boost the signal in the barn, it is iffy.

*Note:  While typing this evening, I checked the ewes to find they’d rearranged themselves and my caption above isn’t as accurate as when I’d begun this post!  Guess I’ll be heading out to the barn, now, to restore order. 😉



5 responses to “Shepherds Watch Their Flocks By Night

  1. Quite high-tech. We’re fairly laid-back about lambing now and wake up each morning, at our leisure, to see what’s transpired over night. I do remember the old days, however, when we would often make multiple trips to the barn overnight to check on progress – especially if someone showed signs of labor at bedtime. Ahh … the luxuries of 21th century trechnologies. I am glad you are making use of them … as is your immune system. Carry on! D

  2. Loving this post and understand the gratitude you feel with having the convenience of the Dropcams. They are the best thing ever!!

  3. The Lamb Cam is so neat! Blame it on the pig!! Haha! Love your blog. You are such a tireless worker but it is so apparent that you love it so. xoxo

  4. You’re so technologically advanced! I can see how one could get used to the cam technology and what a help it is, especially if it lets both the sheep and you have a little more rest. That’s the best medicine (aside from chicken soup)!

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