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Lambing Season 2011
Baby Lambs Photos 2011
The Drenthe Heath Sheep is the oldest and most rare native sheep breed in The Netherlands. In Dutch this breed is called 'Drents Heideschaap', meaning it is a sheep that used to roam the heather fields in my country in the old days. It's still roaming around in what's left of our moors. This sheep breed is rare, because there aren't many left of the old type, due to cross breeding with different other breeds. It's a sheep that is still very close to nature and ewes lamb on their own without help, though sometimes you have to step in. This breed is worthy to be kept alive; it belongs to our National Inheritance and needs to be preserved.
Meet the Rams - These Are the Fathers of the Lambs
The Rams I Have Used for Breeding This Year
Every year I use a different ram that's not related to the ewes, to avoid inbreeding. Not all breeders give their sheep names that would be impossible in the big herds where each year 200 to 400 lambs are being born. So we give them a unique number. These two rams are the fathers of the lambs born in 2011.
Ewes carry their lambs for 5 months minus 5 days; you can almost set the clock to that. As I don't use color blocks for the rams in mating season, I only know the period the lambs will be born, but not the exact date. So it's always a bit of a surprise. The ewe in the picture is carrying very heavy and I fear that she will have triplet baby lambs, like last year.
Last year I thought she would come first, because she was already so heavy, but she came last.
As you will see in the photos, the Drenthe Heath Sheep is a multi colored sheep and black when born doesn't always mean black as an adult. The fleece of all spotted lambs will turn to grayish white, except from those that are really black Only the head and the legs will keep their original color most of the time.
Meet the Moms of the Lambs 2011
You Know It's Spring, When Lambs Are Being Born
Lamb #1 - Webstar - Born: March 15, 2011
Webstar (aka Ghostwriter) was born in the very early morning of March 15. I know it was early because when I found him, he was almost dry and standing proudly close to his mom 'Bente', who is a very good and protective mom. He has a white spot on top of his head, but that will probably vanish when he's growing older. He's a pure black and will stay black.
Update September 30 2011:
Webstar is growing into a beautiful ram, but alas his mom has developed a severe sensibility for sunlight, resulting in a very severe itch on her forehead, which makes her rub her head against trees and poles till the blood comes out. Only solution to stop her pain is ending her life.
Lamb #2 - Cloudy - Born: March 15, 2011
Cloudy (aka Wan Muhammad Zulfikri Bin Wan Yusoff) was just born when I came to check on the morning of March 15. He was still wet and his mom 'Aunt Greet' was licking him dry. Ewes always make special sounds constantly and that's how the lamb and his mom will recognize each other in the big crowd (besides the smell). Looking at the behaviour of Mom, I knew a second lamb was on its way.
Cloudy is what we call a mixed brown spotted lamb (it's not a plain color brown) and his fleece will turn white and all the spots on his body will disappear, except on his head and legs. Cloudy has a twin sister: Othercat.
Update September 30:
Cloudy has been sold to another breeder.
Lamb #3 - Othercat - Born: March 15, 2011
Othercat is the twin sister of Cloudy. She was born about an hour after her brother. Ewes who get more than one lamb, are taking care of the first one first and when she thinks it's all right, the second will be born, but always within about two hours. I made a little Happy Dance, when I saw this little lady ewe, because she's black and white spotted and patched and there aren't many like that. I had two rams last year, but rams never can stay because of the inbreeding. Thing is, I don't know yet if the black will stay black. I know that in a couple of months when the fleece will have grown some more. She knows she's beautiful, she's smiling.
After all, the wool of a black sheep
is just as warm.
— Ernest Lehman
Lamb #4 - Sammy - Born: March 19, 2011
Sammy was born in the afternoon of March 19 and as soon as he was there, I knew I had to bottle feed him, because his Mom Ashley's Fairy, had turned her back on him. Once in a while this happens and we never know exactly why. His mom had two dead lambs last year and as I was there when they were born, I assumed they were still born, but now I think she rejected them just the way she's rejecting this lamb. She shows no interest whatsoever, she's deaf to his sound. Her udder wasn't as swollen as it should have been so I called in the vet to check. It appeared she had another lamb in her, so the vet delivered that one too.
Ok, bottle feed lambs. I'm not too happy, because it's like having a newborn baby in the house, feeding time every two hours for the next weeks, but I don't feed them during the night.
Lamb #5 - AlfiesGirl - Born: March 19, 2011
Alfiesgirl is the twin sister of Sammy and so I have to bottle feed her too. She's a sweet little darling (as all lambs are) and her color will be mixed brown spotted, the same as Cloudy. There are countless variations in this color range. She could even turn into a plain mixed brouwn, because the color description is only related to the color of the head and legs and I think when she's fully grown, you won't see any white spots anymore, except her white fleece.
Alfiesgirl and her brother Sammy are born in the stable, because their mom was one of four I wanted to keep a closer eye on and I'm glad I put them in the stable, otherwise I might have noticed too late that something was wrong.
Update March 24:
Alfiesgirl didn't want to drink her milk all day yesterday and evening, just a drop or two and then she stopped. She was clearly not feeling well, so I took her to the vet this morning and her temp was a bit too high so that pointed towards a starting infection. She got an antibiotic shot and a vitamin shot. This afternoon she started to take her milk again and I was very pleased to see that.
Updates on Mom Ashley's Fairy
Update March 19:
Mom Ashley's Fairy was not doing ok, she seemed to be in pain and was just standing there, gnashing her teeth and she hadn't lost the afterbirth yet, so I called the vet again at 23.30pm, but he said it could take a day.
Update March 20:
I called the vet again because the ewe refused to eat. He came over and the ewe appeared to have a fever. She got three shots and was doing a bit better a few hours later. The lambs are doing fine and especially Sammy is making a lot of noise, letting everybody hear that he is there.
Update March 21:
Mom is starting to eat some hay, but the afterbirth hasn't still come out yet. Never had this before, so I don't know how it will end. She sure is not getting any babies again.
Update March 24:
Looks like Mom has made it, she's active again and eating well and somewhere along the line she's lost her afterbirth.
Lamb #6 - Jodi K's Paris - Born: March 20, 2011
Jodi K's Paris
Jodi K's Paris was born in the afternoon of March 20. The ewes of this breed never stop to surprise me. This morning I had visitors (new breeder) and we spend quite some time in the stable and then later on I had fed the lambs and the other ewes and never noticed there was something going on. Then about 3 hours later I went to feed the lambs again and I was welcomed by the baa's of two newly born baby lambs. Mother 'White Nose' fooled me again. Like 'Othercat' this nice young lady is a black spotted lamb, who will stay black and white (I hope). I'm very pleased with her. She is the twin sister of LilyMom.
Lamb #7 - LilyMom - Born: March 20, 2011
LilyMom is the twin sister of Jodi K's Paris and I'm very pleased with her too, because she looks just like her dad. Their dad is no more, because he started to develop a nasty ram's habit: attacking people without a reason. Too dangerous to keep him around. This lamb's color will be called Pale Brown Spotted. When growing up there could appear more pigmented spots on her face, we'll just have to wait and see. She is the twin sister of Jodi K's Paris.
The Ewe White Nose with Her Lambs Jody K's Paris and Lilymom
Lamb #8 - Custard - Born: March 24, 2011
Custard: last night I noticed this ewe 'Not so Bad' being a bit out of the ordinary, just standing there, staring at nothing, walking, returning to the same spot as before. Most of the time that's an indication that something is going on inside. I took a peek at 3.00am, but she was just laying and ruminating, so I went to bed. This morning she was the same, hopping from one leg to the other, staring, gnashing her teeth.
When a ewe is giving birth for the first time, it always takes a bit longer to open the way out. About one hour ago, the first was born, nice lamb, color is mixed brown with a touch of wild color. At first the ewe didn't know what to do with that thing that had fallen out of her and I stood there, keeping my fingers crossed. After a while she went to the lamb and started licking her and I said: 'Good girl, that how you should do it'. Little by little the ewe got more fanatic in licking and reacting towards the lamb, with her funny noises and I had good hopes. It might not seem a spectacular color to you, but I'm glad with this little girl, the wild color is not much around anymore. Custard is the twin sister of EverydayMiracle.
PS: Mom got her name 'Not so Bad', because she hadn't passed the first breed inspection last year and I actually had bought her to sell her meat to a customer. But I miscalculated and I had one customer less then I thought and as this ewe had developed this last year not as bad as I thought she would when I inspected her last year, I decided to put her in with the ram, because I liked her really dark brown color. So that's how she got her name: she's not as bad as I thought she would be and I'll put her up for another inspection this year. She's not the most typical for the old breed, but she's ok.
Update September 30:
Custard has been sold to another breeder
Lamb #9 - EverydayMiracle - Born: March 24, 2011
EverydayMiracle: while Mom 'Not so Bad' was licking her first born lamb Custard dry, she just crouched down a little, pushed one time and out fell EverydayMiracle, the twin sister of Custard. She was very tiny and rather dark and she didn't give a sound. That's the moment that young ewes often forget that they have two lambs, so I just took EverydayMiracle and shoved her under her Mom's nose and she started to lick the second lamb too, which made me do a happy dance. They're both doing ok now and I'll move them to the meadow in about two days. You can't tell from the picture, but she's not bigger than a full grown cat, only her limbs are a big longer. EverydayMiracles is the twin sister of Custard.
Update September 30:
Everyday Miracle has been sold to another breeder, along with her sister Custard and her Mom Not So Bad
Lambs Need to Rest Often - Everydaymiracle and Her Sister Custard.
Their ear will always hang down a few days after they get their eartag in.
Lamb # 10 - Rainbowzz' Mandy - Born: March 27, 2011
Rainbowzz' Mandy: this weekend our youngest daughter came over and of course she hoped to see a birth of a lamb, but there was no sign of it yesterday.
Today however I noticed that one of the ewes (Nathalie) often returned to the same corner way in the back of the meadow and most of the time that's a sign that something is going to happen. And yes, late afternoon I saw stronger signs that the ewe was going into labor, so I phoned my daughter (who stayed in the little cottage of her sister nearby) that she should come. Ten minutes after she arrived, the ewe gave birth to a beautiful brown spotted lamb, a girl.
Update September 30:
Rainbowzz' Mandy has been sold to another breeder
Lamb #11 - Delia D-Artist - Born: March 27, 2011
Delia D-Artist: I totally didn't expect a second lamb with this ewe, because she wasn't that heavy and the first lamb was rather big, but then....nature never ceases to surprise me. The ewe went into labor again and within 5 minutes number two was there. My daughter filmed it all on her mobile and I just opened an account on YouTube so I can upload movies myself now. Delia D-Artist is the twin sister of Rainbowzz' Mandy.
The Birth of Delia D-Artist on Video
Delia D-Artist: my daughter recorded the birth of the second lamb on her mobile. The membrane usually ruptures when the lamb is coming out, but it didn't so I broke it, because the lamb would have gotten fluid in her lungs and that's not so good. Both are beautiful lambs and if you turn on your sound you can hear them too.
Birth of a lamb #1 = just after Rainbowzz' Mandy was born.
Birth of a lamb #2 = follow up on #1 and unexpectedly the ewe went into labor again, so a second one was about to be born.
Birth of a lamb #3 = the actual birth of Delia D-Artist
Birth of a lamb #4 = Delia trying to get on her feet and finding her balance.
Rainbowzz' Mandy and Delia D-Artist with Their Mom
R.I.P. Mom Natasja
Mom of Rainbozz' Mandy and Delia D-Artist
Today May 27 2011, I found Mom Natasja dead in the meadow. I knew she was getting old because I had the vet check on her only last week. I thought she was a bit sick, but she was just old and had a bad heart. Luckily her lambs are already self-supporting. Always sad when an oldie dies, but she has had a good life.
Lamb #12 - Sylvestermouse - Born: March 28, 2011
Sylvestermouse: last night I had this feeling that one of the ewes who had to lamb for the first time was getting there. She was a bit passive, staring into nowhere, so I stretched my bedtime, only to see her lay down and start chewing her cud and then I knew it wasn't happening that night. The dilatation can take a few days with young ewes and are sometimes hardly noticeable.
When I came to feed the lambs this morning she had strong contractions, so I put on my coat and installed myself in the stable. Poor thing had a hard time and was panting, grinding her teeth and making groaning noises. With ewes it's just like with women, some yell, some don't.
But all that resulted in the birth of a beautiful Light Fox spotted lamb and again a girl. Geez, the last couple of years I got so used to getting more males than females, that this is really amazing to get so many females this year.
Amazingly too that Sylvestermouse got a twin sister BossyPants
Update September 30:
Sylvestermouse has been sold to another breeder
Lamb #13 - BossyPants - Born: March 28, 2011
BossyPants: and really to my big surprise, mom Tracie (named after the daughter of my late best friend) went into labor again. After a while I checked, because most of the time the second one is coming out real fast, but I didn't see a head, only two limbs hanging out and it were the rear limbs, which meant that the second lamb was laying backwards, butt first. That means you have to get the lamb out as quick as possible, because it could choke if the head stayed inside too long. So I took the back legs and pulled softly on the next contraction and out came a beautiful Dark brown spotted lamb which started to bleat immediately. I was very relieved, because last year I had to do life saving aid on a lamb that came out backwards. BossyPants (that name suits her well, because she is a bit bossy as it comes to drinking milk) is the twin sister of Sylvestermouse
R.I.P Mom Tracie
Mom of SylvesterMouse and BossyPants
On May 19 2011, I got a phone call that a sheep was laying down on the dyke and that it seemed she was dead. I rushed over and found my beautiful young ewe Tracie, but she was not dead yet. She couldn't have laid there for more than one day, because I had seen her two days before and nothing had looked out of the ordinary. I don't know what caused her death; she might have caught what we call summer pneumonia which can result in a quick death. As she was too far gone, I called the vet to give her a shot to put her out of her misery. Darn, I hate it when young ewes die and I haven't noticed that there was something wrong.
It's better to be a lion for a day
than a sheep all your life
— Elizabeth Kenny
Mom Honeybunch (On the Right) - a Fat Pregnant Ewe
The Triplets Mom
See that huge belly on the white ewe? She looks the same at the other side. Can't even show on the picture how huge she really is. The dark one on the left was carrying twins at the time this photo was made, so the white one must have triplets or she stepped out of line in mating season and she's carrying an elephant in that belly of hers. I think I let her pass next year. Getting triplets two years in a row is a bit much, she needs some time to recover. Triplets are not common in this breed.
Lamb #14 - Goody's Bah - Born: April 4, 2011
Goody's Bah: Finally there was some life in the brewery, as a Dutch saying goes. This afternoon ewe Alysia decided it was time and around 15.00pm she delivered her first male lamb. His color is what we call a Pale Gray Fox, meaning all the spots on his body will disappear and his fleece will be very light cream colored. I'm very pleased with this lamb. Goody's Bah is the twin brother of Fluffanutta.
Lamb #15 - Fluffanutta - Born: April 4, 2011
Two great male lambs were born this afternoon, very lively and Fluffanutta made it clear right away that he had seen the light, because he screamed the lungs out of his little body. Like 'Here I am and you better not forget that'. His color will be the same as his brother, a Pale Grey Fox. I'm really happy with these colors; they sure are kids of their mom and dad. That's the fun about this breed, you never know what color pops out. So far 10 girls and 5 boys. Fluffanutta is the twin brother of Goody's Bah
Fluffanutta is the namesake of Hubber fluffanutta
Goody's Bah with Mom Alysia, 20 Minutes Old
Democracy must be something more
than two wolves and a sheep voting
on what to have for dinner.
— James Bovard
Lamb #16 - LovelyLashes - Born: April 5, 2011
LovelyLashes: April 4 at about 20.30pm the ewe Honeybunch went into labor and she had rather strong contractions, so I thought it would be all finished by midnight. How wrong I was. It took all night and at about 10.00am on April 5th the first lamb was there. A beautiful Dark Brown spotted little lady and I had the perfect name for her: LovelyLashes. The minute she was out, she started to crawl throughout the whole box, screaming and yelling and letting the world know she was there. Good thing that it wasn't night anymore or the neighbors across the street would have thought someone got attacked or something. Geez, that lamb sure has a big pair of lungs. I'll get a better picture soon.
LovelyLashes is the twin sister of SquidSeth and TimeWarp.
Well, I must confess that I made a mistake: LovelyLashes happens to be a BOY!!!
I checked right after birth and never checked it again, just discovered it today (April 15) When he was still all wet and all, I must have overlooked his tiny you know what's. But....he truly has lovely lashes. .
Lamb #17 - SquidSeth - Born: April 5, 2011
SquidSeth: the number two lamb was born and he was something else. He came backwards, so I had to help to get him out as quickly as possible. This time however I didn't have to perform Life saving Aid, to get him going like I did last year. SquidSeth is a tiny, but stubborn en determent little fellow. He was up and about rather fast.
SquidSeth is the twin brother of LovelyLashes and TimeWarp.
Update September 30:
SquidSeth has been sold to another breeder
Lamb #18 - TimeWarp - Born: April 5, 2011
TimeWarp: At last this cute fellow fell out. Surprise: a Black spotted lamb, though I'm not sure he will stay black. I know that in a few months. I truly hope he stay's black and white, because that's a very special color pattern in this breed. TimeWarp decided to do things differently this time and came out with one foreleg, his head and one fore leg backwards, which is awkward, because it's a bit tricky to get such a lamb out. It was the first in 26 years that came out this way, but I managed to get him out without any damage. I can't say for sure if the two rams would have made it if I hadn't been there, because it rather often happens that they don't.
TimeWarp is the twin brother of LovelyLashes and SquidSeth.
R.I.P. lamb Timewarp
He Struggled, but Could Not Win
Timewarp was the last of the triplets and had trouble from the beginning. He didn't want to drink with his mom, so I bottle fed him, but soon it appeared his bowels weren't working as they should and as a result he pooped out plain milk. Got pills from the vet, but they didn't help, got the advise to change from powder milk to fresh cow milk and that he seemed to like.
Then he got inflammation of his joints on his back legs, got shots for that. Later got the same inflammation on a fore leg, got shots again. Then it seemed to go rather well, but his poop still wasn't as it should be and that didn't change when he started eating grass. Then few days ago I discovered he had an ear inflammation, so I took him to the vet again and he had a high fever and that was the moment I decided that it was not in the best interest of this lamb to let him live any longer.
In his 7 weeks of age he needed the vet 5 times for rather serious illnesses and it looked like this would go on and on. He had a fever and was in pain, so putting him down was the most human thing to do. Alas, he struggled, but could not win. May his little soul rest in peace.
Last Lambs of the Season - Two more Boys
Lamb #19 - Puzzlemaker's Pooh - Born: April 5, 2011
Puzzlemaker's Pooh: Late afternoon I noticed the last ewe went into labor and I was happy, because the Lambing Season would be all gone and over.
Around 23.00pm (local time) the first black ram was born, with a white spot on his head and a white tip on his tail. I decided it had to be a Puzzlemaker's Pooh, because that's a suitable and lovely name for boy. He will stay black all his life and only his fleece could turn to grey eventually. Puzzlemaker's Pooh is the twin brother of MisMatch.
Lamb #20 - MisMatch - Born: April 5, 2011
MisMatch: I had hoped on a pure white lamb, genetic white, but he isn't. He has as you can see fox colored ears and a brown spot on his neck. This means that he actually is a brown spotted lamb, where the color white excessively is exposed. This was the one shot I could make.
Mismatch is the twin brother of Puzzlemaker's Pooh.
Update September 30:
Mismatch has been sold to another breeder
Puzzlemaker's Pooh and MisMatch
The End of Lambing Seasong 2011, Or.... Maybe Not?
Hop Hop over the Fence
Ahhh....Love has no boundaries
Early January, when I went to the dyke to feed the sheep, I noticed that the stud ram wasn't where he was supposed to be, on the dyke with the young rams from last year. So then I immediately new that I would find him where he was NOT supposed to be: on the dyke in the midst of all the ewes, but there he was. Hop Hop over the fence.
He couldn't have been in there for more than two days, but in theory that's enough to make sure my lambing season 2011 has not come to an end yet. I will know for sure around the first weeks of May. I truly hope he hasn't accomplished anything, because both old ewes and the young ones of last year were kept separated from the ram for a reason. As there is nothing about it I can do, we'll just have to wait and see.
Luckily no lambs came from the ram's little trip to the ewes
Thank you for all the lovely comments and also for the overwhelming amount of Blessings.