Friday, May 7, 2010

Brownie's Lambs Have Arrived AT LAST!

Welcome to the world Brownie's twin ram lambs... yes, it IS an all boy year!
They were born one week and three hours after Pixie's boys, around 9pm last night. The first sign I caught of pending labor was Wednesday night. Brownie's belly had dropped a bit, hips hollowing out mildly, and vulva looking more red than pink. Oh ho ho, here we go... so all day yesterday we checked Brownie on the hour to see if there was any progress. Wouldn't you know that I had to drive a field trip for the high school varsity softball team (they won both games - woo hoo), that kept me away from home from 12:30 to 7:30! However, Troy was under strict instructions to check her and call me if any changes. Nothing happened while I was gone... yeah!!!!
When I came home it was time to round up Pixie & lambs, along with Brownie, into the maternity pen/lambing jugs for the night. When I approached Brownie she was standing by the fence, panting, vulva swollen, in obvious pain and slight confusion. However, she coasted right into the pen for me. I put Pixie and her boys to bed, for safety and to keep them out of Brownie's way, and went inside to have a late dinner with my hubby.
Afterwards, we played on the patio with the kids... it was a beautiful spring day to be outside. My husband heard Brownie's, with lack of a better way to describe it, cow grunts & groans first. I jumped up, ran into the house, threw on my 'I don't care if they get stains' clothes, grabbed the camera & flashlight and sprinted outside to the pen. Was that one really large hoof??? Brownie would lay down on her side and make terrible noises with a few contractions, then stand back up again and pant. This process repeated several times. The noises make it harder to bear witness. You feel so helpless watching, knowing she's in pain. I've been there, I know! I watched my best friend give birth to her first baby girl, and it was a similar feeling of helplessness... thank goodness sheep birthing is a blip on the radar compared to the length of some human births!
Alright, back to that hoof... I'm thinking a lot of things, "Oh no, what if this lamb's just too large? Will I need to push the leg back and pull the other one forward like it says in the book? Should I call the vet? Should I call Tammy? How long do I wait? Why was I thinking I was equipped to be a shepherdess?" I ran back into the house, did who-knows-what with the camera and grabbed a clean pair of socks, just in case I needed to assist with a slippery lamb. Back outside again, I find Brownie doing the real work of pushing her lamb's nose out. About that time, by flashlight mind you, I see the "one hoof" is actually two. Oh crap, where's my camera?! "Troy, help,!" Out slithered the baby. Phew! Enters Troy with the camera, thanks hon! Someone has to keep their cool, and it's not gonna be me. This is too exciting! :)
She promptly went to work, cleaning off lamb #1. Oh my, he looks just like Brownie as a lamb. This means we have a beautiful, err handsome, Ag lamb who will have the same gorgeous oatmeal colored fleece as his momma! Woo hoo!

In about 15 minutes or so, she laid down on her side. Gave about three pushes with a fair bit of noise, and voila! Baby #2 has arrived!

After a little bit of cleaning from Brownie, it looks as though we have a moorit ram lamb with a few white hairs on the top of his head. Awe, look at their positions... Walking and looking for that elusive first drink of milk is hard work!

Last picture before my batteries ran out. You can see Pixie and her twins witnessing Brownie's miracle. At some point I noticed Pixie "baahing" a fair bit. I'm not sure if it started before or after the new lambs starting mewling for Brownie. She was either coaching Brownie through it all or just getting maternal and trying to call them over to her. After all, new mothers know everything, don't they?

I waited awhile for Brownie's afterbirth to pass (or at least to be well on it's way) and for her and babies to bond without interference. Cleaned babies umbilical cords with Betadine, gave them two pumps of Nutri-Drench and checked for horn buds. Yep, that's what I thought! Sigh, no ewes this year. Then I gave Brownie warm molasses water and jugged them all up. I removed all soiled hay from pen and loaded fresh stuff in, so as not to attract predators with the blood scent. Off into the house to clean up.

At 11:45 I did a final check. Brownie's afterbirth was out, and she had already eaten it. Good girl! NOTE: For those not familiar with this process... it's a normal animal instinct to hide signs of lambs from predators. Plus it's full of nutrients for the mother. So, always give your animals a chance to clean it up, but if they don't, you should do it for them.

I still hadn't seen a successful nursing, but I was betting that Brownie would settle down and give the boys more time to find what they were looking for once I was out of her wool. With a big "Thank You" to God for helping Brownie safely deliver two healthy lambs, I went to bed for some much needed sleep.

At 2:45am... you didn't think I'd sleep all night, did you?.. I snuck outside to check on the new family. All was well, both lambs were standing up, and Brownie was nice and calm. My common sense says a weak unfed lamb wouldn't be standing, so I felt reassured they'd make it through the night and went back to sleep for another 3 hours before the alarm went off... time to run the school bus route. Yeehaw! Feelin' perky! Ha!

So this morning, here's what everybody looks like in the light of day. This boy looks a bit lighter than Pixie's lambs. Could be a lighter moorit or maybe a fawn down the road?? Only time will tell for sure. What a sweetie! All of Conway's boys have the cutest little heads, don't they?

This is Brownie's famous look. It means, "What are you up to now lady?" Brownie is just like her mother, Locksfield Willow, who's home is at Fairlight Farm. They're both very untrusting of those humans. Says Brownie, "Other than those delicious animal crackers and bits of bread (my favorite treats), what are they good for, really?" ...cue the sniff and wary eyed look of disdain.

Alright, check out the Brownie lamb pic from March 2008:
See any resemblance?

Here's another look from the new momma. I think she's saying, "Butt out already!"

Now, this post should be dedicated all to Brownie and her lambs. However, the camera was in my hands...

"Look Ma, neighbors!"

"Huh? What? You talkin' to me?"

"Really bro! She's taking my picture. Would you get your nose outta...! How embarrassing."

"Ha! Ha! Ha!"

"Why you eatin' that stuff Ma?"

"Say wa? Are you talkin' to me, again?"

Pose familiar? Fairlight Pixie lamb pic, March 2008:

"Wheeeee! Leap frog's the best!"

Alright y'all. I'm gonna stop here. More pics just might follow soon. :)

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommas out there, whether you have furry children, the human kind, or both. Be kind and gentle to YOU.

Peace & God Bless,

Kim & Family


  1. Well they are a CUTE bunch, even if they are all rams. I loved the pix where you compare them to their mommas. I'm surprised how much Pixie's little guy looks like her in that pic. And Brownie's little boy is spittin' image almost. It looks like what you said--a moorit and a musket from her. The musket ram looks HUGE standing next to her. Just some clues to a well fed and content lamb. --Active periods mixed with peaceful sleep, not baaing repeatedly, full tummy (sides should looks rounded out) and the one I use the most, if their mouth feels nice and warm if you stick your finger in. A cold, chilled lamb that isn't eating will have a cold mouth and general lack of energy.
    Congrats on your first successful lambing season! Woot!

  2. p.s.--thats the first picture I've seen of the whole lambing shed/jug. VERY nicely put together. They definately have the deluxe lambing suites. AND get ready for the lamb races in a few days. You won't get anything done, once all four are running their races.

  3. Thanks Tammy, for all the good comments AND support whenever I need it. :) After several modifications, the lambing jugs have come together nicely.

    I'm really excited that Brownie's lamb is a brown musket, like her. I just love the color of her wool. I love moorit too, but it's nice to have variety... especially if anybody is staying. :)

    Looking forward to group lamb races. Pixie's boys are already starting, frisky as all get out! :) Too much fun!

  4. Hi Kim, I am totally enjoying your blog! Looks like a fun time. Kerry

  5. Kerry, thanks! I couldn't access your profile. Is this the Kerry from M. school?

  6. Yep, that's me! I have a blog too. It's

    Mostly just my kids and my scrapbooking. I have not updated as often as I used to. I will return to it when I stop working at the end of this month!

  7. Congrats Kim!! On a successful lambing season. And welcome to the all ram lamb club. I love your shelter! We are finishing up a shade shelter for the goats. I hope to have a blog entry on it soon. The sheep are stuck with the old manure spreader for shade for now. Can't wait to see what the colors look like in a couple of months!

  8. Kerry, HI!!!! Thanks for stopping by my blog. The farm stuff is hard work, especially because I'm so busy with the kids. However, it is still fun... why else would I do it, right? :) I'll have to check out your blog. Great to hear from you!

    Marie, Thanks! It was quite a relief for my first year of lambing to go so smoothly. I feel very lucky! And, yeah, we're both in the ram club. Ha! When I had my own kids I was grateful that I didn't have to deal with the whole boy "snip snip" stuff. Guess I'll be making up for it in spades now! Ha! What about you? Thanks for the compliment on the shed. The girls get the good accommodations. The boys use a double-sized doghouse we bought used from someone. It was actually meant for the outside dogs, but they never liked it. The sheep and chickens use it often though. Ha! This summer we plan to build 2 more shelters for the different corrals, so I'm not moving them around everytime I think the weather might get nasty. If I had a manure spreader around, I'd use it too! Anything goes, right? :) If it turns a lovely shade of green, you can tell people it's just copper! :)