Lambing season is here!Early Valentine’s Day morning, my husband walks in from the barn and says, “Oh, by the way, you have twins!”
I grab my overalls and jacket and run out to the barn as quick as my Sorels can carry me. There they are, standing by mom in the morning sunlight. I approach slowly and I hear mom nicker to her new girls to stay close and start to feed. There is the voice that a ewe uses only this time of the year. She speaks to her babies in a language she and her offspring understand. The babies reply with their soft, new voices, anxious for their first taste of mom’s nutritious and vital food.
I know horses nicker all the time. They nicker when they greet you. They nicker for their oats. But I only hear ewes use this lovely tune when they have babies by their sides.
I quickly make a “jug,” or portable stall, for the babes and mom to bond. In the jug, mom is assured to get plenty of water, hay, and a little, extra grain so she can produce enough milk to feed two hungry twins who grow so fast you can almost see it happening. I can also observe whether both girls are feeding, and I don’t have to get out the lamb milk-replacer. I always have some on hand, but it is nice to not need it.
We do a quick “clip, dip, and strip”—clip the umbilical cord, dip it in iodine, and make sure mom has milk coming in on both sides of her bag.
Because it’s only February, it’s a bit early for lambing season. And by “early” I mean “cold,” so each baby gets a felt coat for a few days. This way I know they can use their energy to grow and not just struggle to stay warm. During the first few days, we do checks, picking up the sleeping babies and setting them on their feet. We want to see them stretch and move to mom, not just stand and shiver.
It is a lot of work being a baby lamb, so we want to help in any way we can.
Well, it’s time to check the barn and make another batch of soap. Lavender & lilac soap bars are the plan today. I also need to text the kids, because everyone weighs in on baby names during lambing. I’m guessing Valentine’s Day might influence the naming process.