End of April we bought our first sheep: three pregnant ewes.
What do we know about pregnant ewes? How will we recognise that they are ready to give birth? Will it come as a total surprise? So many questions to which I had no answers.
Here we are on a journey filled with unknowns to us. For a seasoned farmer, rearing sheep has little or no mysteries.
I must educate myself. My first step is to ask our neighbour. That was a good step. Now I know that one of the visible signs is the formation of the udder.
Imagine the following scenario: I’m observing the ewes twice a day to see if I can see the udder forming! I think it is a bit comical! My action is not going to change the course of nature and bring the birth of these lambs.
Trying to check the udder
A closer look
Last week we noticed slight changes in the udder of two of our ewes. Now I am excited, so I took the time to read various blogs. Thanks to bloggers like Red Hope Farm I now know there are other signs to look for.
I am still awaiting impatiently the births of our lambs. My curiosity leads me to check them for more signs. I force myself to see signs that are barely there. At the beginning of the week, I was convinced one would give birth this week. It was wishful thinking.
My husband had another conversation with the neighbour. He believes we still have a few weeks before anything happens. My excitement has dwindled. It’s been two days since I last checked them. I will wait until the visible signs are showing clearly.
I guess the birth of our lambs will make a good subject for another blog.
When we bought our homestead last year, it came with a Wiltshire Horn ram. The previous owner was unable to round him up with the rest of his herds when he sold them. As a result, we inherited it. I find it interesting that the next door neighbour chose to leave one of his ewe with our ram for companionship.
I took several photos of these two sheep. The prospect that they could become the first of our flock on SoggyBottom Homestead filled me with excitement. In no time at all my first wishful balloon popped. Apparently, it was an old ram which would have had little or no use to us. That’s right, I consider all my wishful thinking or dreams that doesn’t become realities as balloons. It pops and disappears and with it comes some form of disappointment. I liken it to a toddler holding his first balloon. Watch how his emotions change when the balloon either pops or flies away!
So my balloon popped. The ewe found a way of escape as our fencing needed repair. A few days later, the ram escaped too. Needless to say, they both received an appointment with the butcher.
Six months down the track, we have fixed our fencing. We have bought three supposedly pregnant ewes. They have been with a ram, but the farmer who sold them to us was unable to confirm if they are impregnated.
Our three ewes, Snowball, Caramel and Coffee have settled well. They follow us at a distance and come running if we give them some treats.
Snowball is always the first to arrive. She is not afraid to eat out of our hands. Coffee, who has the darkest face, is cautious of us and will not come too close. She is the dominant one and decides from which bucket to eat. The others don’t have a choice as she will push them away from her bucket. Caramel is somewhere in the middle. A slightly brown face. Although she isn’t afraid of us, she is too timid to eat out of our hands.
I would so like to touch them, pat them as I do the calves. Maybe one day. For now, we will wait patiently until the lambs are born.