Greetings! It's been a long winter since our last update, but spring is beginning to sprung and with spring comes BABIES.
Tess, one of our seasoned ewes, gave birth yesterday evening to twins. As Experienced Farmers who have owned sheep for several months, we totally knew it was going to happen. She had mostly stopped eating yesterday morning, was hanging out by herself for most of the day, and when she finally went into the shelter she growled at anyone who tried to join her. Tess and Goaty McGoatFace (GMGF) seemed to compromise in the afternoon that GMGF could sit half-in, half-out of the shelter as long as GMGF was quiet. That's quite a compromise for Goaty.
By late afternoon, Tess had started to occasionally twitch, gasp open her mouth, and then grind her teeth -- I don't know much about giving birth, but i told myself that her contractions had started. However, our farming mentor had assured us that most of her sheep give birth overnight. Whew, that was going to be lots of hours of contractions.
So we did what responsible farmers would do and went to the bar to hang out with our Friends and eat chicken wings, thinking that we'd be back in time for the birth later at night.
When we returned to the farm and exited the car, it was immediately apparent that there were new tiny animals and one of them was giving pathetic little cries. One of the twins had gotten separated from Tess and was still wet and sticky (yuck) and was trying vainly to nurse from Sesvanna (who named these ridiculous sheep), who hasn't given birth yet and was having none of it. We were able to scoop up the sticky twin and put it back down by Tess, who started licking and nursing it. A great success.
Other highlights include
-- Lilac's reaction. Lilac is Tess' daughter from last year, who is now old enough and big enough to be pregnant.. but looked so forlorn and confused that her mom had made more tiny things. at one point, Lilac even laid down by Tess to snuggle/warm one of the twins. She's going to be a wonderful aunt, right up until she births out her own lamb in two weeks and she becomes a mother.
Great news, both lambs were still alive this morning.
Two days ago, we took out a bucket of eggs for the pigs, but it appeared they had slept out in the forest somewhere because they weren't around the feeding area and weren't in their shelter. We said fine, whatever, they'll come up for food and water at some point and eat the eggs then.
New farm lesson: crows LOVE eggs. A group of nasty, too-intelligent-for-their-own-good crows proceeded to spend the morning trying to figure out how to efficiently hold whole, hard boiled eggs and fly at the same time. They ended up scattering at least 5 of the eggs over the two fields and nearby forest, which pup was happy to run around and find and eat. It was like pup-easter. It's tuff to tell how many the crows successfully stole and ate.
So yesterday in the morning, we go out, no pigs. So we put a lid on the egg bucket and set it outside the pig area, thinking we'll put them out when we sees the pigs return at some point that day so they'll eat them right away. The pigs never returned, so last night while we were paparazzi-ing Tess we put the eggs out for the pigs, thinking the crows wouldn't eat them in the dark.
This morning we go out with another bucket of eggs and last night's eggs are still there. Those lazy goddamn pigs had already gone to sleep in the woods and hadn't woken up or returned to their feeders yet.
So we went to find them. They were all in their pig-pile about 200 feet from the feeding area, but didn't seem inclined to get up just because a farmer was approaching. So we let pup in. She got free pig-butt-licks and snout licks because they still wouldn't get up. Sheesh. Pigs are not morning animals. We kept trying to get them to wake up and go eat eggs for about 10 minutes before it worked. At one point, I had a foot under one of them and was urging it up while pup was licking its butt. It just laid there, placidly snorting and steaming.