During lambing season, my internal clock wakes me up between 2am and 3am. I crawl out from under the warm covers- put on my barn coat, hat, and mittens-grab the flashlight, and head to the barn. I always pause and listen before opening the door to see if I can hear a new voice calling out in the night. Then, I open the door. After my eyes adjust to the dark, I begin to scan the crowd looking for any signs of labor.
Many years ago, we took a lambing class and I remember the teacher saying, “if they are chewing their cud, they are not in labor,” and “if they are eating hay, they are not in labor.” I have learned that this is not true in my flock. Chewing their cud seems to have a calming affect during their labor. I have watched time and time again, my ewes chewing in between contractions. I have also learned to have apples and hay ready for the mom who needs a little boost in energy as they readily eat it.
|Pronounced hips -a sign of approaching labor|
I put some hay in the run in so the other ewes would give Chloe space and privacy. I watched as she brought two healthy lambs into the world. Once again, my ewes have proven that laboring ewes can actually chew their cud!