Out of a surprise necessity, sheep work began today.
A lamb was born and died this morning. The lamb was born to a first time replacement ewe. We only discovered the lamb because Diesel was eating it for breakfast (I'll spare you any photos). I insisted D give the lamb up, something the LGD’s do not do very willingly.
This little lamb never got her feet (I can tell by the membrane on the sole of the foot). I ruled out Diesel interfering with the birth since he’s been through two lambing seasons and never done so. He’s innocent until proven guilty there. So I’m going with this theory instead: the lamb was born dead, or died shortly after birth due to an inattentive mom. Diesel was cleaning up what was left behind.
If you’re thinking it, you’re right, we don’t lamb until May. I’m as surprised as you, however, unlike you, I had a heads up - which I forgot all about. Due to an error I made in the Fall, a group of dogging sheep were let in with the rams and spent a day there before being noticed.
So even knowing of the oops, I was still totally unprepared for this lamb today. A look back into the flock record book, shows the breeding date, and yep - it meant lambs in March (and how did it get to be the tenth of March already? I think I’ve been buried in artwork too long). The whole scenario has me feeling out of touch with this flock and with this calendar year. I feel a bit like I’ve shirked some diligent duty of a good shepherd. I feel, in a word, awkward.
Bless his big heart, Allen helped me sort out the 20 odd, might by due to lamb soon, ewes, and set them in the barn paddock. This way they can be outside during the day but I can tuck them indoors at night. Since we were sorting animals, we pulled the rams out as well. And so it is, that with the first lamb of the year on the ground, breeding is officially over for this season :-)