It's amazing to me that after two years of life on our farm, we've yet to welcome any new animals via birth on The Elliott Homestead.
We should have had a calf by now, but since our first cow Kula never was able to get bred, we're still a bit behind on the calving schedule, and will welcome our first calf (hopefully) the end of May.
And though we've got 26 eggs in the incubator, it'll be a few more weeks until our heritage birds make their appearance in the farm.
But this week…
Well, ladies and gentlemen, this week is of a different sort. Because if all goes to plan (which, by the way, is the stupidest statement a homesteader could ever say and makes me feel a fool for even typing it) this week we'll be welcoming our very first Elliott Homestead farm babies onto the farm.
Well, besides the one I gave birth to last summer, of course.
These babies will be much fluffier than Will, will boast a few more legs, and will require much less pain on my part. Poor Rosie, on the other hand, is in for it.
And considering it's Rosie's first time being a mother, I feel even worse about the whole ordeal. Ya'll, we're are preparing for lambing.
I don't care how many times I breed animals…. I still always feel a bit like a pimp.
‘Hey there, Hamish… Did you see that Rosie girl? Looking pretty good ain't she? You want to… well, do you want in on that action?'
Tying poor Sally girl up to the post last summer so that short ol' Hiro could mount her successfully about did me in. I'm so sorry for what I've done, Sally! But I need you to have a baby! Don't judge me. It was for your own good.
But regardless of how slummy it makes me feel, it still must be done. Without breeding there is no milk or meat or babies. And thus, we breed.
Rosie was bred last Fall. At least, that's when I saw Hamish successfully mounting her. Fast forward about five months, and here we are. Rosie's belly is now rotund and extra fluffy. Her udder is beginning to bag up and her poor woman parts are puffy, swollen, and pink.
I remember that part of pregnancy. It sucked. This was the point in pregnancy when I threw myself down on the floor, weepy uncontrollably, begging for the Lord to get to this creature out of me NOW.
Every time I see poor Rosie, I remember those pains and discomforts.
Her time is coming. Any day now, I expect to see her venture off on her own… perhaps stop eating for a bit… and begin the laboring process.
What's that, you say? You've never helped to deliver lambs before and wouldn't have a clue what to do if there was a problem and you're feeling incredibly unprepared because the lambs could come… like now… And you're totally not ready for an emergency?
Me too. Let's prepare together.
Preparing for Lambing
1. Let's start by preparing a nice, dry, warm place for our ewes to have the lambs.
If any problems arise, it will help that she's contained. Our sheep aren't super docile, so if we were to have her in a field, we could be chasing her and causing further problems. I will leave her free to graze with the other sheep until I see real signs of labor. For my shelter, I'm using the empty pig paddock with fresh bedding.
2. Now, let's make sure there's fresh water and hay available for her there to keep her comfortable.
3. Just in case, let's also put together a little lambing box.
This will include:
– Antiseptic spray: filtered water in a squirt bottle with a few drops each of melaleuca, lavender, and OnGuard essential oils
– Scissors: to cut cords, membranes, or anything else
– Nylon Rope: for gently pulling lambs, if necessary
– Milk bottle and lamb nipple, in case something happens to Rosie or we have triplets
– Coconut oil: for lubrication as needed
– The Elliott Homestead notebook: to keep track of lambs weights, sex, etc.
We don't dock our sheep's tails, nor do we castrate the males. So we won't need any of those supplies on hand. And since these lambs will be raised for meat and not registered (they're purebred Katahdin lambs), we won't need to worry about tagging either.
I'm excited for my Rosie girl. With any luck, she'll have a healthy lamb (or lambs!) and be a great mother.
And that's more than any homesteader could ask for.
More posts on Sheep on the farm:
- The Sheep Saga
- Why You Need Sheep
- Preparing for Sheep on the Farm
- How to Butcher a Lamb
- Lambing in Winter