Nightly Barn Checks

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 watch the ewes closely as they approach their due dates. I know whose hips seem hollow and whose bag is just a tad larger. All day yesterday I watched Chloe, the next ewe on the calendar. Her hips seemed more pronounced and her udder seemed a bit larger. As I entered the barn last night, Chloe was standing chewing her cud with gusto. She then moved to a corner where she laid down and continued to chew.  I stood a few minutes but she seemed fine. Then as I turned to leave the barn I heard a grunt. I know what that sound means! I turned back around, shined the flashlight on Chloe and sure enough she began pushing. Within one push, two lamb feet appeared. 

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! 

Fiona-ewe lamb

Fiona-ewe lamb
Frito-ram lamb
Frito-ram lamb


One Response

  1. Jody

    Congrats! They are adorable 🙂