Lambing is well underway and this week propelled us into high gear with two days of steady rain and cold temperatures. The worst weather scenario for newborn lambs on pasture but one we have become familiar with during the last two wet years.
Familiarity has not made it any less stressful.
As I climbed into bed last night, feeling wet and weary from too much time spent outdoors in strong wind and rain, I was wrestling to set aside thoughts of how many chilled and dead lambs I might find come the morning.
Yet the new day found all the newborns from the day before accounted for, plus a few new sets of twins and singles - all alive. I was immensely relieved, not only because they survived the inclement weather, but because we have seen more than the usual few challenges that result in dead lambs, at the start of this lambing season. We have been feeling some trepidation about checking the flock. Now that lambing is well underway things seem to have taken a turn for the better and there are more successes than losses.
I was highly impressed to see how all but one ewe, lambed in a well sheltered spot, nestled into the brush, protected from the wind and rain and as cozy as I could have made them in a building. Three of these were ewes lambing for the first time. We brought one older ewe and her twins home yesterday as her lambs did get chilled. She had lambed out on a hillside and had not moved to shelter.
One other success was Cajun proving his mettle when asked to help catch single ewes on open pasture on two different occasions. Watching him work as he did further fueled the euphoria felt while working him during the stock dog clinic. He and I have come a long way in our working relationship and we are each beginning to stand up to the tests of ranch work.
Today we received a reprieve from the rain although the temperature has remained cold. I’ll climb into bed feeling a little less worried and a little more satisfied.