This lambing season, I have slept in our “Shepherds Room” in our B&B. Seems appropriate, don’t you think? This room is only 20 steps from the back mudroom door. I can make it to the barn in under 30 seconds time. I found that by sleeping downstairs, I can go out to the barn, check the ewes, and be back in bed in under 1 1/2 minutes. I check the ewes around 11pm before going to bed and then again around 2am and then at 5am. In all of our years lambing, we have only ever had one ewe to deliver in the middle of the night and only one to deliver around 5am. Despite this record, I am still pulled to the barn around the clock.
Last night, I fell asleep on the sofa. When I woke up at midnight my husband was heading upstairs to bed and told me that he had just checked on the ewes. I figured that gained me another hour of sleep and so I set the clock for 3am. I woke before the alarm sounded and rolled out of bed to head to the barn. I was still putting my coat on when I rounded the corner of the house and heard a very loud baaing. Either one of Ina’s lambs was in trouble, or someone had just given birth! I took off running to the barn. I found our ewe Bonnie, looking rather stunned, standing over a very healthy, very large ram lamb. He appeared to have just arrived a few minutes before I did. Bonnie was nickering to him but unsure of what to do next. I went back to the house to get my daughter Anna because Bonnie is her ewe. Anna and I spent the next two hours in the barn helping the two of them settle in to a lambing pen. We wanted to be sure he was nursing well and that Bonnie was accepting him. By the time we went back to the house, Bonnie had finally realized that she needed to clean him off and was licking his head vigorously. He had nursed a couple of times and had quieted down.
When my husband woke up and went to the barn to see the lamb, he admitted that he forgot to tell me that last night when he checked the ewes at midnight, Bonnie was pawing at the floor. How could he forget to tell me that? I am sure at that point she was in early labor. It is just as well that I didn’t know that. Bonnie obviously was able to lamb without me and I needed the sleep.
I am not sure what tonight will bring. I do have one more ewe that is past her due date. Perhaps she will lamb tonight.