Lambing Season 2016
Multi Colored Sheep
This ancient Dutch native sheep breed Drenthe Heath Sheep is multi colored. It means that it's not possible to breed selectively on a special color. Every year it's a surprise what color the lambs will have.
The Drenthe Heath Sheep (Drents Heideschaap in Dutch) is still in the endangered zone, but after 30 years of selective breeding we've managed to keep it from extinction. We have 250 members in our Association of which about 135 are participating in the breeding program. We have 20 big herds participating.
The Parents of the Newborn Lambs 2016
This year I used two rams and gave each ram a group of ewes. It's important to know the parentage of the lambs so you can avoid inbreeding. It's important to keep a wide arrange of genes in order to keep the breed healthy.
Group 1 = the Group of Ram Tienus
Ram Tienus is a beautiful Blue Fox ram. He was born in a big herd up North. Blue Fox is a special color, where the head can be rather dark with a fox colored circle around the eyes and grayish around the mouth. The fleece is white with grey streaks. The Blue Fox color comes in various gradations.
Lilymom Gave Birth to Twins on February 2, 2016
Lamb #1 - BlackNoseRacoon - born February 2, 2016
BlackNoseRaccoon is a male lamb and at first sight a black&white spotted lamb. Someone noticed he resembled a raccoon, so that's where his name came from. He's a cute little boy, but it's still uncertain if his black and white spots in his fleece will stay or eventually will change into an all over white fleece.
Lamb #2 - LittleSpoon - born February 2, 2016
LittleSpoon is the twin sister of BlackNoseRacoonc and she's just a little darling lamb. All black with a big white spot on top of her head. Alas after one day mom LilyMom decided she only wanted to raise one lamb and so I have to bottle feed LittleSpoon.
It's the second time in a row that LilyMom is rejecting one of her twins and therefore I won't use this ewe for breeding anymore. She will spend the rest of her life with an old lady in my neighborhood, who will spoil and cuddle her. No use breeding with ewes that don't have a good motherly instinct.
Twins BlackNoseRacoon and LittleSpoon
Susannaduffy Gave Birth to a Single Lamb on February 22, 2016
Lamb #3 - Migaloo Jimba - born February 22, 2016
Migaloo Jimba has an Australian name, because he's the son of ewe SusannaDuffy. He's a beautiful black male lamb and SusannaDuffy is a perfect Mom.
Wibbina Gave Birth to Twins on February 26, 2016
Lamb #4 - BadgerCoolGuy - born on February 26, 2016
BadgerCoolGuy is a male lamb with a special color called Badgerface. You know a badger has those two black lines on his head; well the sheep in this color have those black lines too. They run from their eyes to their horns. They come in light and dark and BadgerCoolBoy is a dark one. He will lighten up some more when he gets older. Besides those black lines the most characteristic of the color Badgerface is the fact that from the chin all the way to the tip of his tail these sheep are totally black underneath and will get a white fleece on top, like the grownup ram below.
This Is How a Grownup Badgerface Ram Looks Like
Lamb #5 - BlackbellyHunk - born on February 26, 2016
BlackbellyHunk is the twin brother of BadgerCoolGuy and he has an even more special color. He too is black underneath and will get a white fleece, only he has no marks at all on his head. It's plain black or black/brown. The Dutch name for it is Kassenbreuker and it's not translatable into any other language. We don't know exactly where the name originated from, but it's been used for ages for this type of color.
Wibbina's Twins at the Age of Two Weeks
Ewe Amkatee Didn't Get Pregnant This Year
Group 2 = the Group of Ram Blackhorn John
Ram Blackhorn John
Ram Blackhorn John is a Mixed Fox ram. This color contains various shades of light and dark brown. Normally a sheep with this color has white horns, but this ram has black horns.
Hornless Sweetiepie Gave Birth to Twins on March 4, 2016
Lamb #6 - ChestnutSusan - born March 4, 2016
ChestnutSusan is a beautiful female lamb. I'm not sure yet to what color she will turn out eventually, could be Blue Fox, could be Mix Fox or she could even turn to Light Fox like her mom. We'll see when she grows up. For now I thought she had a beautiful chestnut color.
Lamb #7 - BlueFoxPunk - born March 4, 2016
BlueFoxPunk has all the signs to turn into a Blue Fox ram. The light circles around his eyes and the grayish color around his mouth. Now we just have to wait if he gets grey in his adult fleece too.
Twins of Mom Hornless Sweetiepie
Martyjo Gave Birth to a Single Lamb on March 23, 2016
Lamb #8 Lovely Josie - born March 23, 2016
Lovely Josie is a beautiful black female lamb. Her fleece will stay black when she's grown up, just like her mom MartyJo. It was the first time that her mom gave birth and she appeared to be a very good and caring mom.
Mom Jaquarjulie Gave Birth on March 27, 2016
Lamb #9 - OrangeSunshine - born March 27, 2016
OrangeSunshine is a female lamb in the most original color of this breed called Light Fox. I'm very happy with this little girl, because this particular color tends to disappear, because breeders run after all the fancy colored sheep.
Then There Is Mom Little Ann
How Much Bigger Can She Get?
Ewe Little Ann
Ewe Little Ann is a beautiful Blue Fox colored sheep. She's a terribly good and caring mom for her babies, but she has one flaw: she let's me think for weeks in a row that she's going into labor and then she's not. This year it was not different.
On March 30 I noticed that she finally got into labor for real and at 18.30pm local time she delivered two beautiful lambs.
Lamb #10 - FluffyMich - born March 30, 2016
I gave this male lamb the prefix 'fluffy' because the hairs in his white spots were of a totally different structure than the rest of his baby fleece. His color will probably be Spotted Blue Fox because the white spot on his head will stay. The white spots on his body will eventually disappear as his total fleece will turn to grayish/white.
Fluffymich One Week Old
Lamb #11 - SweetPrecious - born on March 30, 2016
SweetPrecious is a female lamb and is a bit smaller than her twin bro FluffyMich. She's just a precious little darling with quite some spirit. She shows and let you hear clearly that she's there.
Sweetprecious One Week Old
Miracles Do Happen
The twins of mom Little Ann were born at 18.30pm local time. When I got back to the barn at 21.30pm to feed the bottle lamb LittleSpoon, I stayed a bit longer to watch the newborn twins. Always a pleasure to watch how those little ones eventually find their mom's nipples.
Suddenly I noticed that the ewe was acting a bit strange. She was lying down again and seemed to have contractions again. Very odd because normally they won't deliver another lamb after three hours. I watched her carefully and again she went down having contractions. That could only mean two things: 1. there's another lamb inside which certainly wouldn't be alive anymore after such a long time, or the afterbirth bothered her. To be sure I called the vet, but he too thought it would be the afterbirth. He said: "You can also feel if there's another dead lamb inside", but I had never done that. I told him that I would keep a close eye on the ewe and would call him again if necessary.
Short after the contractions became heavier, so I decided to go in and see what was in there. Immediately I hit a 'solid wall', couldn't make out what it was, felt no head or legs, but it certainly was something in there. I called the vet again and he said he'd come right away.
Long story short: it was another lamb in there but we both were totally convinced it would be dead by suffocation, because almost 4 hours had gone by since the twins were born. It took a long time for the vet to get the lamb out because he first had to push it back in order to get it straightened out and be able to pull it out. He finally succeeded and put the lamb down in the straw. It was a beautiful full grown lamb and Oh Boy, the moment it hit the straw, the lamb lifted its head and bleated. It really startled us and the vet screamed: "Oh my God, it's alive!!!"
Lamb #12 - LateBoyJoy - born March 30, 2016
This lamb being alive was a real and true miracle. Nor me, nor the ewe would have been able to get this lamb out the vet said. It went into the birth canal with its head bend over foreword, so what I felt inside were its neck and shoulders. His head was bending over its belly and got stuck between the hind legs. It was a true wonder that the lamb didn't suffocate. He was late, it's a boy and it's a joy that he came out alive, so his name LateBoyJoy suits him very well.
Lateboyjoy One Week Old
Lambs Grow Fast
In the beginning lambs grow fast. In the photo below you see the first born lamb LittleSpoon (bottle fed) born Feb. 6 and the triplets born March 30 = 6 weeks between them. The little one in the middle gets additional bottle feeding too, because she can't compete with her big brothers as it comes to mom's two nipple milk bar.
Triplet Lambs with Their Older Sister Littlespoon
© 2016 Titia Geertman