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Our First Lambs on the Farm Come with Lots of Lessons

our first lamb

Our first lamb – Zinnia’s ewe born 3/31/10

After weeks of preparation, and what felt like eons of waiting, our first lamb arrived on March 31, 2010, in the wee small hours of the morning. We knew the lambs could be born anytime after March 25, but weren’t sure exactly when they would show up. Zinnia, one of our four “first-timers” delivered all by herself and her strong, healthy ewe lamb was dry, up and walking when we found them early in the morning. A few days passed, Zinnia and her baby bonded in the jug, and we kept trying to predict when the next ewe would go for it.

Turns out, it was a family affair, with Aretha and Nina (a mother and her daughter from 2008) both delivering early this morning. Aretha gave birth to twin ewe lambs, a yin-yang pair in black and white. Nina had a single ram lamb, our first ram so far.

Aretha with her ewe twins

Aretha with her ewe twins

Mother and daughter are in their jugs with their lambs, bonding and resting after what must have been an exhausting morning. Tomorrow morning we’ll band the tails and put ear tags on these lambs and within another day or so they will rejoin the flock.

It’s been interesting to note the color patterns that we’re seeing so far.  Our flock sire this year is predominantly cream with a few spots of light brown.  Three out of four of his offspring have been black with white spots on their heads and white tail tips. The double white spot is a fairly common marking in the Navajo-Churro breed, called “two gray hills”.

The fourth lamb is the opposite, a solid white ewe.  I’m hoping to cultivate some browns in our flock, and it’s possible that some of these black lambs will turn brown eventually, or they could go gray or silver. It is rare that a black lamb will stay solid jet black for more than a year; their fleece tends to bleach to a lighter color in the sun.

Nina with her ram lamb

Nina with her ram lamb

Meanwhile, we have three more pregnant ewes still waiting to deliver. I just hope all of their births are as easy as the others have been this year.