Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sheep Notes

Lambing could begin any time now. The rams were put in with the sheep 146 days ago. Our schedules are cleared as much as possible and we are resigned to never being away from home for more than three hours.

Time. This is a time of waiting. Every three hours we pull on our quilted barn coveralls, warm boots, wool hat and leather gloves and tromp out to the barn hoping to find new life.

This is a time of disappointment because the ewes who looked ready to explode last Saturday when we sheared, are not quite ready to lamb yet. Their bellies are taut with one or two or three lambs; their udders are full of milk; but the time is not quite right.

Babies are born on their own time schedule and it has nothing to do with ours. Nights are favorite times, as are weekends after noon. Some how, every problem delivery happens after the vet's office is closed. And some weekends there is no on-call vet. Then we really have to learn new skills.

But for now, the only skill I need is patience. We just have to wait until the cervix dilates, the amniotic sack ruptures, and the lambs struggle toward air and freedom. We just have to wait until they are done with waiting.

from Sheep Notes

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